An unelected group of people (a commission) has been created by act of the elected legislature to decide whether individual communities can be allowed to continue operating as individual governmental units or whether they must be 'forced' to combine with nearby local municipal entities. Oh, and by the way, if the local municipality chooses to ignore the mandate of this unelected group of politicians, they will be slapped with severe financial penalties. Am I now expected to salute and shout "Zeig Hiel" to the powers that be. I think not.
Let me offer an important question to you. Why is this being done? Because it is good for you and it is the right thing to do. That is the rationale being offered by our leaders. Nonsense, my friends, I see this as an egregious attempt by the people who think that they are smarter than you or I to tell us what to do because it is "good for us."
What can you and I do to battle this growing tendency to strip us of our freedoms? We can provide feedback. We can express our opinions to our elected officials, and we can write about it. We need to make pains in the butt of ourselves. Let me share one of the primary lessons I garnered from my time in the public policy analysis program at Rutgers University in Newark, New Jersey. "The squeaky wheel gets the grease." Yes it is as simple as this.
We are not yet a dictatorship. We must use the hard-won freedoms which have been secured at great sacrifice to perpetuate the dreams upon which America was built. Let me assure you that I do not want a religious zealot leading my nation, but I want someone who will respect my right to believe in the God of our Fathers. I do not want a bully leading my nation, but neither do I want some wimpy, 'give the enemy what they want' sort of butt-wipe.
I suddenly feel like a little kid asking Santa Claus for my Christmas presents. I want leaders who are:
- Forthright but not obnoxious
- Brave but not foolhardy
- Willing to listen
- Willing to share
- Willing to compromise when necessary
- Civil to one another
I do not want leaders who preach a 'my way or the highway' form of abusive form of coercion. Let me close by sharing a bit of wisdom from the Book of Proverbs.
- Wise men lay up knowledge: but the mouth of the foolish is near destruction.
- Good advice rolls off the heart of a foolish person.
Let me suggest that it is not too late to keep our nation from going off the deep end into the abyss of eternal irrelevancy. However, the effort needs to start at the lowest possible level. Each of you (and me too) needs to do one positive thing per day for the rest of your lives. At the very least, stand up for what you believe and engage others in meaningful discussions. Listen, think, and be tolerant. Good luck with your efforts and God Bless.
HARRY R. CARTER, Ph.D., CFO, MIFireE, a Firehouse.com Contributing Editor, is a municipal fire protection consultant based in Adelphia, NJ. Dr. Carter retired from the Newark, NJ, Fire Department and is a past chief and active life member of the Adelphia Fire Company. Follow Harry on his "A View From my Front Porch" blog. He recently published his first e-book, Running a Volunteer Fire Department. You can reach Harry by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.