Everyone should have attended last Tuesday’s council meeting. It was a lesson in democracy, though unfortunately not in civility.
Building sidewalks for school kids — who would think it would be opposed? School administrators are fully behind the sidewalks saying there is a clear safety issue. Why doubt them? What purpose would it serve for them to not be truthful? Parents of kids who go to Luther Middle School were there asking for the sidewalks as well.
The theme of the night was “will of the people.” Which “people”? School administrators? The parents? Of course not. They meant themselves, their opinions, their voices — alone. Majority rule is the end-all of every conversation, no matter the issue, no argument matters. That’s a scary worldview and the reason for having elected officials. History provides us plenty of reasons why majority rule should be balanced with thoughtful reasoning and due diligence. The cost, you ask? The state is picking up the tab.
At the vote, we had two easy no votes. It’s always easy to be the voice of dissent when you know the vote doesn't hinge on you. It’s quite another to know that you're voting against the grain. A prior council candidate showed us why he's not ready for prime time, saying that without knowing any background he would have sided with the “majority.” Very scary. After the vote, it got ugly with words like “liar” being yelled at the council. One resident claimed her freedom was being taken away. A flawed statement, and a cheapening of the word's meaning. At the end of the day, the sidewalks will be built, life will go on, and our freedom will remain intact.