To the editor:
A prior letter presented the case for our communities increasingly taking responsibility for their own futures. Whoever wins the upcoming election, we will still face a divisive Congress, and a nation grouchy and deeply conflicted.
America’s current electoral excursions reflect populism, but this time dysfunctional, causing balanced traditional choices to fracture. Americans have reason for fear, but not primarily because of Islam or those perceived as ‘different.’ The reasons are scary retreats from our traditional values, and concepts of right and wrong that have eroded.
This election has spawned revelations and rhetoric that have to repulse a still moral/Christian majority.
America has long persevered by staying grounded in local communities, their diverse local governance contributing systemic stability. Ceding local governance to a state, or to local demagogues, creates failed governance; via failure to elect competent officials, to hold the elected accountable, to heed the experiences of two hundred & forty years prescribing what makes free societies work — transparency, inclusiveness, collaboration, integrity, and Nobel psychologist Kahneman’s blend of ‘fast and slow thinking.’
Connecting New Bremen’s or St. Marys’ civic performances with national governance may seem challenging; by analogy, one of our cells juxtaposed against the body? But it takes only one mutated cell to launch a cancer.
The questions posed: What blocks greater collaboration, inclusiveness, and greater citizen awareness in New Bremen’s and St. Marys’ communities? No silver bullets, it’s not one factor, and it’s not pretty.
One answer is: Bigotry enabled when a few become self-appointed mouthpieces for all; producing decisions bought or coerced by self-interest or a place’s economic monopoly; power games versus commitment to equality; and false pride and arrogance our religions have forever condemned.
A second answer reflects weak leadership; electing dogmatic civic officials, inbred councils, and denying electoral competition distorting popular vote. Public sector fiefdoms threatening citizen sovereignty are the result.
A third answer, both places have unthinkingly created self-righteous and unprofessional BOE, in turn creating less than optimal school leaderships refusing transparency and accountability, with learning strategies rooted in last century, or simply wrong. The latter are cardinal sins, because obsolete and distorted education cheats your children and corrupts a place’s future potential. Realistic education must shape America’s response to a troubled future.
The current campaign and one-sided scorched-earth tactics threaten national civility, potentially fomenting even worse in the bogus claims of election “rigging.” Local civility needs to lead better dialogue serving by example.
Dr. Ronald Willett