Some people might question why I attended the Caddo Town Council meeting last night. Some would really question why I stayed up until eleven o’clock listening to a group of men and women discuss things that for the most part don’t directly affect me. I don’t live in town. It don’t have to tag my dog, or make sure my trash is bagged, or worry about tree limbs falling on my neighbor’s property. I don’t have to care what happens in town. But I do. And I went to that meeting for two reasons.
First of all this is America. This is what Independence Day really means. It isn’t about barbeques and boating on the lake with friends. It’s about the privilege of participating in our government. It’s about having a say in what is done and how it’s done. In other countries what went on last night is done behind closed doors! But not here. In my country, in my town, I can talk directly to our leaders about my concerns. I can listen to the council discuss problems and I can try to understand why decisions are made. I have a right, and I think I have a responsibility, to represent myself.
Second, Caddo is in trouble. The town that I love and have adopted as my own has a list of problems that seem insurmountable. Most of them stem from a lack of funds- the universal problem of all small towns. Some problems are the result of changes in our economy and shopping habits. But some problems are a direct result of neglect and indifference on the part of ordinary citizens who sit at home and wait for the government to take care of everything. Some residents even have a “see if you can make me” attitude regarding changes that would benefit our town. I can’t add thousands of dollars to the city coffers. I can’t make people work and shop locally as they did in the forties. But maybe, just maybe, I can be a positive force to help motivate people to make some improvements. Maybe I can encourage people to change their attitudes- for their benefit and the benefit of the town. And the only way I can do that is to stay informed. So, for the next year I have committed myself to attending each and every council meeting. I encourage you to do the same in your town. Attend a council meeting, school board meeting, or other civic forum. Make a difference in your community! If you don’t, someone else will.