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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

In Hickory, we need Advocates not Politicians

In looking over the issues that this community has faced over the last several years, what has disturbed me the most is when local leaders talk about politics and label themselves as politicians as though it is a good thing. In Hickory, we don't need politicians. We can't afford the gamesmanship, manipulation, and controlling elements that seek to obtain power many times through negative means, such as obfuscation.

What we need are advocates. We need people who are passionate about issues, who are capable of cutting through the mire and teaching people about issues. We need people who are constructive, who are able to bring people together through positive means and build consensus.

We need people who believe in themselves. I am not talking about cockiness or self-conceit. I am talking about self-assuredness in the realm of having confidence that if they persevere, with the help of others, that they can accomplish goals. This person must have the humility to keep a level head, otherwise they will most assuredly eventually lose their way and thus their effectiveness.

You see, I am not politicking for advocacy. I am advocating for it. In my association with the Citizens for Equity in Government, one of the issues that the African-American participants have constantly brought to the fore is that they feel like they aren't being represented by anyone on the City Council, much less the Alder from Ward 4, which has historically been the predominant area of concentrated African-American interests. I am sure that they understand two years into the current paradigm that there is no guarantee of representation by the City Council. And a majority-minority elected official will be labeled as a quota and will only be one vote to stand against the continuation of the entrenched establishment.

Where am I taking this? Simply, we have got to build a bench of future civil servants in this community. The African-American leadership and constituency is not the only cultural demographic where we don't see participation in community issues. As Joe Brannock stated last week on Hal Row's Show, "There doesn't seem to be an entry point into that pipeline for service" ... in the City of Hickory.

Look at the various Boards and Commissions that are supposed to form the Architecture below the City Council and act as liaisons in association with the City Bureaucracy and thus our Governance. Except for the prestigious Planning Board, the Community Appearance Commission, the Art Commission, Parks and Rec, and the Historic Preservation Commission, these positions many times go unfilled. And they are only filled by Council's family members, friends, and members of the Club. If you read this blog on a regular basis you will understand this after hearing from Reverend Cliff Moone a couple of months ago at a City Council Meeting relating to the Community Relations Council. If one does look at those who serve on these Boards and Commissions, one will see that the participants are skewed towards the older demographics and where allowed the participants have become entrenched.

The leadership of this community is playing politics and trying to control all angles of outcomes towards some interest that I don't think they could ever define. It has no means to an end. It is all about suiting some personal fancy. I will once again state, We cannot afford this in this community. This system has failed and needs to evolve towards something fruitful.

We need a plan and an agenda towards the fulfillment of goals. We need to build a bench of people who will advocate for the best interests of the population of Hickory in its entirety.  That means that it is the personal responsibility of the people of the varying cultures and demographics to empower themselves by finding individuals to push forth to serve this community. We need fresh people with fresh ideas and the barriers to entry need to come down, but they are only going to come down by tearing them down. Folks, there are cracks in that wall. It has eroded through the complacency of the status quo and the tone deafness of the entrenched powers. That wall wants to come down. Let's get out the sledgehammers!!!


JD said...

100% Dissatisfaction brings about 100% Change! It really tickles me when see all of the BS, like putting someone on a board that really has no knowledge of what's been going on in the past few years. And l must warn the "leaders" in the Black community that in the book of Isaiah there's a passage that reads, "Woe to the shepards that lead the flock". Make sure you don't fall under that woe! He,God,in case you've forgotten His name, Is still in Control!

Silence DoGood said...

I’m not sure that I understand what you’re saying exactly JD. Should the black community shy away from leading or leadership? Should they reject the job of shepherd of the flock? Contextually, what woe is it that they should be wary of?
Also, if God is in control of this, then is it that deity we should be blaming for what is transpiring?

No, the citizens of Ward 4 would merely like a representative voice on City Council. Someone of the citizens of Ward 4’s choosing. Not someone selected by the other 80% of the population pool and of those, the 4% that actually vote in municipal elections in the other 5 Wards and then told, “This is who we’ve picked for you.” Which simply begs the question, “Why have wards in the first place?” If you’re electing the governing board citywide, why? Why go through the teeth gnashing to achieve a representative population structure among those wards when the only thing they represent something you can point to and crow about, but in reality, mean nothing, since council is elected citywide. And while power is absolute and absolute power corrupts absolutely, it is likewise something the wise leader wields very little. A true leader has little need to use coercive power and a despot has an absolute need to do so. In the original piece, Thom speaks of those distinctions and while my words are different from his, the intent and the meanings remain the same. You see it’s all about absolute control and being united. A voice that asks the wrong questions at crucial times could prove ‘embarrassing’ if the plan has already been laid as to what is to transpire. Someone that is chosen for council that is not of the ‘chosen’ ruling class would be a potential and perpetual thorn.

God is a label, a title, not a name. That too is in the Bible. When Moses inquired of God what his name was while on Mt. Sinai, or in the Ten Commandments, “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.”

No God is not in charge of this, Man is. We have allowed this beast to be made and act on our behalf and God is watching. He has allowed us free will as he watches those that invoke his name for guidance and yet, knows that they have no intention of following his wisdom. He knows that they will cherish the gold in their own hand and that they will succumb to the lust they have in their heart for those shiny coins and in the end, destroy themselves. God will allow them to do this to show the rest of the people how the lust for money has turned money into a God of it’s own accord. And at some point, those held and kept in bondage will rise and cast off those who have much and taken from those that have little. That’s right go and read Exodus to see how this story ends. Or to be more precise, how this chapter of Man’s history perpetuates itself compared to the other times of bondage and tribulation.

James Thomas Shell said...

Not to put words in anyone's mouth, but what I believe he is alluding to is Reverends of predominantly black churches in the area who go along to get along with the local "Powers that Be"/Government and don't speak to (or represent) their congregations on issues that have negatively affected the Ridgeview community, because they have their hand in the till and/or receive strings of influence from the current Powers That Be.

What is so shortsighted is that these ministers don't realize that the few crumbs that they are handed are nothing compared to the positions of prominence they hold if they would choose to be focuses of influence and shine the light on areas of injustice where they could empower the community (as a whole)to empower themselves.

It's not about talking about it. It's about being about it. I don't think JD is disagreeing with what you are espousing DoGood. He is telling people that God is watching and judging their actions/non-action. Who is it benefiting, on whose behalf are they acting, and whose interests are they representing?

And if the people in these congregations have a problem with this "leadership," then should they not step up to the plate and empower themselves by aiming to take away the power from those who would use religion towards selfish interests?

Silence DoGood said...

Ah, well that makes sense. Sorry JD, I tend to be a literal reader at times. But thanks for adding the context Thom. And that's from someone who isn't all too lucid myself at times!!

I'm not big on religion/political interaction. Anyone that has read my other dablings of rhetoric in Poor Richard's Almanac would see those concepts come to the fore. In fact I think that a sound concept upon which this nation or any nation should be founded. But leaders are where you find them and in this instance, in the pulpits of the black community. I guess we shall see if they are true leaders and shepherds to their respective flocks, or despotic charlatans.