When Trust Takes A Vacation

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We are fortunate to live in a democratic republic where free speech is guaranteed. Anyone can raise any question or make any comment about what government officials do or neglect to do, what they say or what they fail to say. A little skepticism is useful. Albert Einstein is said to have remarked: “Blind belief in authority is the greatest enemy of truth.”

Skepticism is one thing. Distrust as a political philosophy, however, is another. What are we to make of growing distrust between some citizens and the people they elect – even when demonstrable progress is being made?

We are told that there is not enough to go around so we must conserve what we have. Prudent use of taxpayer dollars is a must in any government, however, much of the criticism of how governments spend or will in the future spend money is often more the result of scarcity thinking than hard evidence of fiduciary irresponsibility as the norm. Scarcity mentality is a path to the slow and excruciating death of a community. It crops up in every era and eventually collapses for want of supporting evidence.

The people whom governments serve may from time to time be indeed be stretched financially if improvements in public services and infrastructure are to occur regularly. That does not preclude citizens – even those financially challenged – from making sacrifices today that have the potential to benefit generations to come. Ironically it is the very poor who, when the need is clear, are among the most generous, while some indifferent or apathetic members of the economic middle class seem to scream the loudest when asked to give their fair share. They find it easier to publicly chip away at good faith efforts than to chip in with substantial commitment.

Just as dangerous is the notion that the competent neighbors whom the governed elect are incapable or unwilling to be wise stewards of tax dollars. We forget that before elected officials were elected, they were persons who lived next door, shopped in the community, and volunteered to coach the kid’s soccer team. Following elections they are still our neighbors. Political office does not poison their ability to use common sense or to make reasonably good choices.

Unless every taxpayer desires to become an expert in the operation of a municipality, county, state or federal government in the 21st Century they must either elect good leaders and trust them enough to let them work or accept councils and congresses that accomplish little and slow progress at great taxpayer expense.

Earned faith, a hopeful public and a courageous press have historically made for more good government than a highly cautious, distrusting public ever has.

Fortunately for us in Cameron, trust is earned locally and no elected official wants to lose it by ignoring tax payers’ credible challenges to assumptions behind ordinances or resolutions. We manage to agree to disagree without becoming disagreeable and to continue to seek every opportunity to work together. Rather than trust taking a vacation, it seems to work long hours and even a little overtime in this city.

When Someone You Love Is Dying . . .

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. . . you don’t just sit there or walk away and busy yourself with something that you already know how to do.  Our ability as citizens to self-govern is eroding as representatives whose views and votes are shaped by the private interests that fund their election campaigns.

Take a look at this brief video.  Ask yourself, is this true in my community?  But don’t stop there because even a healthy community is in danger if the democratic republic in which it lives is devolving into a corrupt form of itself.  What are you, what are we willing to do about it?

We The People and the Republic We Must Reclaim

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We have never gained much from complaining or blaming.  Those who inspire us are inventors, risk-takers, artists, and anyone who dares to choose to create opportunity where others see a hopeless situation.  What amazes us is that many of these people are ordinary folk like us.  This 18 minute video offers a variety of stories and ideas that just might inspire local new business that does well by doing good.  Take a peek.  Leave a comment.  Tell us what you are doing!

Majora Carter: 3 stories of local eco-entrepreneurship


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In a recent exchange with Jack Randall the co-owner of a Cameron business (http://WindmillLeadership.com), I learned that the title “CEO” can also stand for Chief Encouragement Officer.  That made me wonder.  What if everyone in our community had a Chief Encouragement Officer – someone they trusted to cheer them on whenever they made a decision to do or say something courageous?  

Who is your Chief Encouragement Officer?  Who are you encouraging?  


Open Source Community

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When I made the decision to run for city council in my hometown of Cameron, Missouri there was no hidden agenda. Getting more people to take ownership of a better future has always been a passion of mine.

While at a leadership retreat 117 of us from all across the US and Canada (with just 1 day preparation) raised $70,000 in four hours by phone and email , and, we were not allowed to use our own money.  We had to “sell” the project to friends, co-workers, relatives and neighbors.  The next day we traveled from San Diego to Tijuana, organized ourselves into work groups and raised up over a dozen prefabricated houses and outbuildings in one day!  That experienced forever convinced me that any group of people with a vision worth pursuing, a commitment to make it happen and the courage to do whatever it takes could accomplish anything.

If I have a campaign platform it is only this:  I want to help more people to find and share inspiring ideas for building a better future.  We already have a good community.  We can make it even better.

I’ve decided to conduct a campaign of good ideas – yours!  I will pose a question each week and invite you, your friends, and others you may know to post suggestions, solutions, and sources.  Keep them brief, positive, and to the point and lets see how many “Ah Ha!” moments we can create together.