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Officials’ attitude an attack on citizen involvement

When they respond in defensive ways and attack the very character of the people whom they represent, they are working against citizen engagement and contributing to a one-sided debate — the side that agrees with them. One-sided debates only lead to ill-considered decisions.

I have not been involved in the Dan’s Mountain Wind Farm proposal, but I felt compelled to respond to the headline in the Nov. 9, Times-News: “Officials rail against ‘false accusations’.”

The article reminded me of the dynamics that occurred in the debate about fracking in Maryland.

As an activist in the anti-fracking campaign, I and my colleagues were called all sorts of names — “job killers,” “outsider agitators,” “hypocrites,” “elites” and “liars.”

Some of this name calling came from the very officials who were elected to office to represent us as residents of Western Maryland.

Now the same charges are being levied towards those persons who are opposed to installing an industrial wind farm on Dan’s Mountain.

It seems to me that the very bedrock of our democracy is citizen engagement.

We Americans fiercely protect our rights to assemble, to speak out about issues that concern us, and to use the press to publicize our cause.

Instead of public officials criticizing citizens for speaking out about important issues, our elected officials should be celebrating the fact that voters are involved in public affairs.

Our elected... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

I have not been involved in the Dan’s Mountain Wind Farm proposal, but I felt compelled to respond to the headline in the Nov. 9, Times-News: “Officials rail against ‘false accusations’.” 

The article reminded me of the dynamics that occurred in the debate about fracking in Maryland.

As an activist in the anti-fracking campaign, I and my colleagues were called all sorts of names — “job killers,” “outsider agitators,” “hypocrites,” “elites” and “liars.”

Some of this name calling came from the very officials who were elected to office to represent us as residents of Western Maryland.

Now the same charges are being levied towards those persons who are opposed to installing an industrial wind farm on Dan’s Mountain.

It seems to me that the very bedrock of our democracy is citizen engagement.

We Americans fiercely protect our rights to assemble, to speak out about issues that concern us, and to use the press to publicize our cause.

Instead of public officials criticizing citizens for speaking out about important issues, our elected officials should be celebrating the fact that voters are involved in public affairs.

Our elected officials take a lot of heat, but then they should. Citizens should hold them accountable to the people whom they represent.

When they respond in defensive ways and attack the very character of the people whom they represent, they are working against citizen engagement and contributing to a one-sided debate — the side that agrees with them.

One-sided debates only lead to ill-considered decisions.

Former President Harry Truman once said, “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.” These words ring as true today as they did in the 1940s.

 


Source: https://www.times-news.com/...

NOV 12 2019
https://www.windaction.org/posts/50606-officials-attitude-an-attack-on-citizen-involvement
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