Change usuallystarts with anindividual effort

As you read this, supposing that for most folks it is Friday evening, there are two days of voting left for the local municipal elections — Saturday’s final day of early voting and Tuesday’s general election.

We have little hope that these municipal elections will bring many Bladen County voters out to cast a ballot. In fact, if there are close to 20 percent of the registered voters here who actually vote, we will be surprised.

On many levels, this is a sad commentary on our society — one which has nary a care about the individuals making the decisions that will affect them directly.

It is also interesting, to us at least, that general elections which also include presidential choices fare far better. Interesting because, voters seem more intent on electing a president than they are decising on local officials.

As can be expected, local folks who running for office during the municipal election — both incumbents and challengers alike — are a bit frustrated in the fact that so few registered voters even pay attention to the names on the ballots, much less actually vote.

But in some ways, it’s a double-edged sword.

After all, most races are unchallenged. Incumbents pay their filing fee to get on the ballot and nobody steps up to challenge them. And this happens election after election.

On the good side, for them, is the fact that they don’t have to spend as much to advertise or get their name out there. And since the municipal elections are nonpartisan, there is also no primary to be concerned with.

On the bad side, for the public, is the fact that there is rarely any real debate, choice or decision to make. So what we are all left with is the status quo and business as usual. That’s not always good — much like a business with a monopoly.

As with any corporation, business, non-profit group or organization of any kind, it is important to have a steady influx of new ideas and new debates. Without it, tunnel vision will often set in and things become stagnant.

But the first thing necessary to get that started is interest from the public. Voting is the best thing we have available on Saturday and Tuesday. But after that, attending meetings and getting involved will also go a long way toward making the community a better place. And one day down the road, perhaps new canduidates for elected office can give us all the choices we should have to continue the trend toward ongoing successes.

It all begins with you.



“Practice the pause: When it doubt, pause. When angry, pause. When tired, pause. When stressed, paused. And when you pause, pray.”

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