Thinking about the possibility the city will stop curbside recycling triggers one of my strongest thoughts about politics: elected officials have one responsibility higher than giving the people what they say they want and that is to tell them the truth on all issues facing the community.
If all an elected public servant is to do is nothing but what the people think they want, we don’t need them. We can simply hire a pollster, check out what the people think they want and do it.
Surely people elect leaders to tell them the truth. Not the results of their latest poll but the truths that will determine the quality of life in the community. If elected officials have no more knowledge of the issues than the people out here working all day with little time to study such things, our goose is cooked.
Not only do we elect people to tell us the truth, we pay them enough to stay on top of the best information. Why aren’t the solid waste experts who report to the mayor and council educating city officials and the people on the imperative reasons for curbside recycling? Could it be they have not been asked?
Why not use the public schools to inform the next generation and to carry information home to parents? Are they studying anything more important than saving our home planet?
Is it enough to just say there is too little participation in curbside recycling to keep it going? Who has conducted an educational program to let the people know what’s at stake?
Look at the mess we’re in with gas prices. Who told the people this was coming? It was definitely as predictable as indigestion after judging a Texas chili contest. It took an article in The Sun to let me know we only have 25 years of dependable oil in the earth and 40 years at most. I read this several years ago so you can ratchet those numbers down. Time and oil are running out and our “leaders” sit around running their little polls to see if they can find some hot buttons to push and gain one more do-nothing term.
We’ve got a big campaign going to educate the people about the dangers of obesity and I am in favor of it. But educating the people about saving the planet through better stewardship of our remaining natural resources is more important. I have a feeling everyone who can tie their shoes knows the causes of obesity (and why its harder to tie their shoes) but they know little about recycling.
For certain, all the blame for our low participation in curbside recycling doesn’t lie with our elected leaders. Our churches need to be teaching biblical truths about guardianship of the land. Civic groups take on all kinds of educational projects but so far none have taken on the mission of rousing the people to see the clear connection between recycling and survival.
Every time a consolidated government charter vote came up when I was in office, I supported it. It was foolish politics if you are a polling politician but I never ran a poll because they are like rectal thermometers. You’ll get a different reading every day. I knew I was elected to a position where I gained unique knowledge of the issues. I daily dealt with the problems of duplicated services and lack of cooperative action due to the absence of clear-cut lines of city/county responsibility. I stuck my neck out because I saw no greater need than to share truths I had learned in the job the people gave me.
I will go right on recycling no matter where I must carry my stuff. I did that when concerned citizens were collecting it at Normal Park School.
Why? Someone took the time to educate me. Maybe we need to do a poll with just one question: Do you care if the planet survives?
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