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!!!