I grew up during a period from the fifties to the seventies where ordinary working folk grew stronger voices. Once most of those in my parents’ generation depended on their elected officials doing right by them. On the local level, it actually worked pretty well. However, the higher up the political food chain you went, the less your voice got heard. This led many, sadly, to just give up fighting; it took too much energy battling the powers-that-be.
Starting in the 60s, especially after John F. Kennedy got elected president, many, including myself, started little by little finding our voices. At some point after reading a small paperback by Father James Keller, who authored, “Government is our Business,” I found my voice and at times wouldn’t shut up. People hate when you don’t shut up and listen to them.
One paragraph in his little book (written back in 1950, by the way) stated, “Government is our business. Either we run it or it runs us. It will only be as good as we want it to be or as bad as we allow it to be.” I have never forgotten those words and have carried those words forward into actions that needed to be addressed.
What the residents of the Oak Island neighborhood did was make a powerful statement that we are the government, not them. I am so happy to see that folks in this neighborhood recognize the victory they just won. They could have just given up and accepted whatever was coming down the pike, but they didn’t.
The powers-that-be saw what happens when they believe folks would be compliant. However, even Article 80 could roll over them. Now it is time for more folks in more neighborhoods to form associations to defend their turf, too. They may try and guilt you but if you know you’re right, the power of one and one and one and one more will persevere.
We need to elect good elected representatives at all levels of government but always remember we are the government and those we elect are our voices. Of course, you know the next step is not to be afraid to run for office yourself. Our Founding Fathers created, as Ben Franklin once said, “a republic if we can keep it.”
Hold your heads up high over in the Oak Island Neighborhood. How does your first victory feel right now?