Poses the question: 'Democracy... why bother?'

To the Editor:

Democracy. Why bother?

From our earliest education, we have learned that democracy was a form of government that represented the will of the people.

The American Revolution was fought so the American people could have a voice in governing their lives. No longer did they want to be voiceless, having the appearance of a voice but not really having a say in the decisions that effected their lives.

Since the birth of our nation, many lives have been lost protecting this ideal, as well as spreading it throughout the world.

Democracy. Why bother?

Look at America's democracy now. It is split along party lines and special interests. Decisions are made not for the betterment of the governed, but for the betterment of the party or powerful special interests.

In fact, I'm sure some decisions are made for the benefit of those who govern, not the people being governed. Protection of one's place on the economical, social and political ladder has become the real goal of democracy in America, rather than an educated, compassionate and open-minded discussion of what the people want.

Democracy. Why bother?

The recent events in our town of New Milford reflect this evolution of our democratic government.

The hearings on the closing of John Pettibone School were in favor or either keeping it open, or delaying a decision until the end of the next school year.

The editorials in local papers supported these options.

In a true democracy, the nine-member board would have listened to their constituents and voted to do either of those options.

The will of the people.

But the vote of 5 to 4 to close JPS reflected party lines (except for the one brave Republican who voted to keep it open).

Why bother holding meetings if decisions have already been made behind closed doors?

Democracy. Why bother?

As The Spectrum editorial pointed out last week, the mayor and other leaders in town wanted the volunteers who have shown compassion by running Loaves & Fishes for many years to move off the Green.

The ideas for a new home were many and finally a solution seemed to be found.

Once again, many voices in town supported this solution. But some questionable actions by the zoning board will lead to a resolution of disapproval of the application at its next meeting.

Why bother holding meetings if decisions have already been made behind closed doors?

Democracy. Why bother?

There is a real reason we should bother.

Democracy is a form of government that officials must be elected to serve.

Perhaps it is time to look at the party in power in New Milford and ask, do they have the best interest of the "powerless?"

Do they have the compassion and courage to make the hard choices?

Do they have the cognitive strength to show the ability to think outside the box to resolve the difficult problems?

Do they have the ability to really listen to what townspeople are saying at meetings?

The strength of democracy is non-violent change.

You will have that opportunity with your vote in the local elections in 2015.

Democracy. Why bother?

Because, if we don't, a few people behind closed doors will be telling us what to do with our lives.

We may not always get what we want, but to feel the frustration of party-line voting, disregarding the majority say at open meetings, leads to apathy and the attitude of why bother.

Maybe that is the goal of the folks who are the leaders in the town.

Bill Dahl

Gaylordsville