Speak­ing up

The Compass - - OPINION - Reprinted from the Pla­cen­tia Char­ter, by El­iz­a­beth MacDon­ald, ed­i­tor

I t’s an in­ter­est­ing fact about peo­ple that we don’t of­ten feel es­pe­cially comfortable speak­ing up on is­sues im­por­tant to us. Don’t get me wrong. We com­plain. We blame. We be­moan. We mut­ter our dis­ap­proval un­der our breath but most of­ten we don’t go much far­ther than that.

It seems only in the most dire of cir­cum­stances do peo­ple feel comfortable speak­ing up pub­licly about the is­sues that af­fect them, and what they feel should be done by those who have the power to make changes for the bet­ter.

And it may not be that peo­ple feel comfortable do­ing that. It’s more likely they feel they must, that they have no choice, or at least, noth­ing left to lose.

And then there are those of us who, like the boy who cried wolf, speak up so much, so of­ten, so loudly, that the words lose their mean­ing and their im­pact is less than they cold be.

Here in Pla­cen­tia, com­plaints are com­monly heard about the state of dis­re­pair at the Sir Am­brose Shea lift bridge.The most ba­sic of peo­ple’s fear are ex­pressed when talk­ing about their dis­trust of the bridge. Peo­ple close their eyes while driv­ing across, we’ve heard. I know of one per­son who drives across with her win­dows rolled down so if the bridge were to col­lapse and her ve­hi­cle plunge into the icy wa­ter be­low, she might be able to es­cape from a wa­tery grave by swim­ming out of the ve­hi­cle to the sur­face of the wa­ter and hope­fully the shore.

When peo­ple feel that much fear and con­cern over an is­sue, one has to won­der why more isn’t made of it in the pub­lic realm.

Why aren’t the peo­ple of Pla­cen­tia writ­ing let­ters to the ed­i­tor of this news­pa­per and The Tele­gram ex­press­ing their con­cerns? Why haven’t more peo­ple dropped into The Char­ter of­fice to de­mand we do a story about the is­sue?

It is what the me­dia is of­ten there to do – be used as a ve­hi­cle to ex­pose prob­lems in our so­ci­ety and bring at­ten­tion to the is­sues.

But peo­ple are of­ten ret­i­cent and don’t want their name as­so­ci­ated with com­plain­ing, even if their con­cerns are jus­ti­fi­able.

Of­ten peo­ple will drop by the of­fice and tell us in­for­ma­tion without the de­sire to go that step fur­ther and al­low us to quote them say­ing what they are telling us.

We have to get over that. Some­times opin­ions need to be ex­pressed pub­licly, and pos­i­tive change oc­curs be­cause we do.

For our gov­ern­ment and so­ci­ety to re­ally work as it is sup­posed to, we must pro­vide in­put to the peo­ple we elect to gov­ern and pro­tect us and some­times that in­put is neg­a­tive, but ex­press­ing that neg­a­tive opin­ion can lead to a greater good.

Of­ten peo­ple will drop by the of­fice and tell us in­for­ma­tion without the de­sire to go that step fur­ther and al­low us to quote them say­ing what they are telling us. We have to get over that. Some­times opin­ions need to be ex­pressed pub­licly, and pos­i­tive change oc­curs be­cause we do.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.