All we really want is something in which we can believe
October 29, 2010
I believe people are craving something they can trust. Something concrete enough to give reasonable assurance of security. Something that gives them reason to move forward with their plans, hopes and aspirations.
Fortunate enough to have grown up in stability, I was able to enjoy the security of parents who loved me, cared for me and encouraged me to pursue my dreams. I knew growing up that I was expected to leave home after high school and start the process of training and preparing for a lifelong career. There was no doubt in my mind that I was to become self-sufficient. I learned that lesson so well that by the age of 18, I was paying my own way in society.
Despite that level of self-sufficiency, I still distinctly remember feeling secure because I knew if I fell on my face, I could always go home. There would be a place to land even if everything was pulled from beneath my feet. It was that sense of security, I believe, that allowed me to dream beyond what I could see in my immediate existence.
As a member of the local school board and the tax override committee, I have been heavily involved in promoting the West Grand tax override. Numerous plans were put in place that were intended to educate people and convince them of the validity of the initiative. The part of the campaign that I feared the most, face-to-face meetings, turned out to be the most rewarding aspect of that effort.
Asking people to make sacrifices is not an easy thing. Part of me remembered some of the rancor I encountered during a similar effort in 2009. An effort that failed. Part of me wanted to succumb to that aspect of human nature that compels us to not get involved beyond what we see as the satisfaction of our most immediate needs. However, what I found was an experience that was enriching on a personal level.
The reward of the personal contacts was not that everybody agreed with my position. There have been plenty of discussions that have covered a wide range of opinions. The reward was the discovery that many, many people in this isolated patch of northwest Colorado care about their community. What I discovered is that people really want something worth caring about. I had entered the campaign anticipating a mountain of apathy that would need to be overcome. I was pleasantly surprised to find much to give me hope for the future.
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It might be that many of us feel let down by the leaders of this country. It might be that many of us realize we have allowed ourselves to be placed in a position to be let down. Something has sparked a renewed spirit of taking care of business. I wish I could bottle the prescription for what I believe to be a very positive sign.
I don’t know what will happen next Tuesday. Obviously, I want the tax override to pass. It would be hypocritical for me to think otherwise.
Obviously, I think the school district is something worth caring about and something in which the community can believe. It is a decision, however, that will not be made by me alone. It will be made by the community.
The most important realization came to me while I was pondering some arguments that were not supportive of my position. What came to me is the realization that, for many people, local government has come to be viewed as somebody else. The school districts, town boards, hospital and fire districts and county government that we created to facilitate the provision of the infrastructure of living have become something that needed to be distrusted, at best. Certainly there are examples of why that has become a train of thought.
The truth is, all of those things are, by their very definition, and by their very essence – us. You and me. During the campaign for this particular tax override, the phrase “We Are West Grand” was coined. I believe it captures the essence of the responsibility that we need to assume. It is the essence of shouldering a fair share of the burden of providing all that comprises a community.
I believe we are again seeking those things in which we can believe. And, when we fully realize that we are the ones responsible to provide the things in which we can believe, we will walk better as a society.