Elec­tion af­ter­math

The Gulf News (Port aux Basques) - - EDITORIAL -

Well, that’s over. You cast your vote — or ig­nored the op­por­tu­nity to do so — and if you did, you can sit back and be proud of your role in the demo­cratic process. Your mu­nic­i­pal­ity — if it had enough in­ter­ested can­di­dates for there to be an elec­tion in­stead of ac­cla­ma­tion — is firmly in some­one else’s hands for the next four years.

And you can move on to other things. Well, not quite. There’s much more you can do, and much more you should do. At least, there’s much more you should do if you believe in the con­cept of a sup­port­ive, in­volved demo­cratic com­mu­nity.

It has some­how be­come ac­cept­able in our lit­tle sec­tion of Western civ­i­liza­tion — heck, in much of Western civ­i­liza­tion — to view every­thing solely through our own per­sonal lens.

What mat­ters to many peo­ple ex­tends lit­tle fur­ther than their own front door: my job, my fam­ily, my kids’ schools, my va­ca­tion, my en­ter­tain­ment, my pot­holes, my health care. We have en­shrined per­sonal greed as suc­cess, with­out re­al­iz­ing that very ac­tion un­der­mines our abil­ity to be stronger to­gether.

Why is it ac­cept­able that what hap­pens next door or down the street, five blocks away or in an­other part of the prov­ince or coun­try mat­ters far less? Un­less, of course, it’s some­thing that then hap­pens to us, as well.

That’s not how com­mu­nity works.

Over the next four years, and maybe as early as the next mu­nic­i­pal coun­cil is sworn in, there will be de­ci­sions to be made, po­si­tions to be taken, pub­lic com­ment gath­ered and di­rec­tions set. Those di­rec­tions and de­ci­sions will af­fect us all in larger and smaller ways. This week’s paved wet­land some­where up­stream car­ries the potential of next year’s neigh­bour­hood of flooded base­ments. Next month’s in­fra­struc­ture in­vest­ment car­ries with it the pos­si­bil­ity of be­com­ing a decade’s worth of white ele­phant.

Through it all, you’ll see time af­ter time when coun­cils say, “we asked for in­put and heard noth­ing back” as a de­fence for mis­takes made.

So, if you’ve ac­tu­ally taken the ef­fort to vote, why not plan to be more in­volved with mu­nic­i­pal pol­i­tics? Send emails — or let­ters, if you like. If there are ar­eas where you can lend your skill or ex­per­tise, do it. Mu­nic­i­pal coun­cils can’t be al­lowed to work in a vac­uum. Af­ter all, they’re elected to work for you, and if they won’t lis­ten when you speak out, well, you know what to do when the next elec­tion ar­rives.

It’s bad enough that it’s more and more of a strug­gle to get peo­ple to do some­thing as sim­ple and pain­less as voting in a mod­ern-day elec­tion. It’s much worse when com­mu­nity is thou­sands of lit­tle me-is­lands, worlds that spring into ac­tion only when the threat ap­pears at their own door.

Did you get in­volved in the elec­tion? Well, stay in­volved. Be heard.

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