Even in election season, we are a community
A column from Brad Allard, Hill College and Dallas Baptist University political-science professor and host of “Mr. Allard’s Neighborhood,” on the city election in May
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You’re about to read a column from Brad Allard, Hill College and Dallas Baptist University political-science professor and host of “Mr. Allard’s Neighborhood,” a podcast about the Burleson community.
Mr. Allard has been a supporter of The Burleson Buzz since before I published my first article in May, so I’m happy he’s now contributing to the publication with this column.
Ultimately, the newsletter needs more perspectives than just my own, so I’m happy to feature anyone who wants to contribute and has something they can write about.
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I was reading about our early history the other day, and it struck me, as it always has, just how the contention and political combat in the era of Jefferson very much resembles the tensions of today. The accusations, the false connections, the libelous commentary about political figures – nothing new under the sun.
That has always led me to believe that local governing was the very basic heart of our democratic system and that we need to keep from it the theatrics and circus antics one sees in Washington (or lately, in Austin).
Alexis de Tocqueville said it best
“….local assemblies of citizens constitute the strength of free nations. Town-meetings are to liberty what primary schools are to science; they bring it within the people’s reach, they teach men how to use and how to enjoy it. A nation may establish a system of free government, but without the spirit of municipal institutions it cannot have the spirit of liberty.”
That is why in the upcoming elections I hope that we can conduct ourselves in this spirit.
There will be much contentious conversation stirred up on Facebook and webpages, and the First Amendment protects that right. But having that right does not bestow it with truth; there will be many “facts” thrown about on social media that may have only the barest relationship to reality in the upcoming months.
It therefore is incumbent upon the Burleson city and school-district voters to make themselves aware of the true details of the issues in these campaigns.
One example is about the proposed plan for a new city hall and library.
We can debate the need for these all we want, but at best these are 10-year proposed projects that may or may not come to pass.
A properly managed city takes a 10-year plan view on all possible contingencies and adjusts according to future events and realities. Any city that aspires to be the kind of community we all want to live in has these types of plans.
Yet from some of the dialogue I’m reading on social media, one would think we were breaking ground on these projects tomorrow. Again, these are ten years in the future, maybe.
Therefore I urge the Burleson voter/citizen to find out these facts before running with something someone posted on Facebook, quite often anonymously or under a fake profile.
We can be critical of City Hall all we want, as is our right. But in comparison to many other communities, we are actually run quite well.
When our streets need repairing, they get repaired. Our trash doesn’t pile up on the curbs. We have excellent police and fire departments. And Old Town is becoming a destination point for the county.
Those things did not happen spontaneously or overnight.
It took 10-year plans. Whether or not it comes to fruition, with the proposed city hall and library builds or some modified form, is for us to decide over the course of time and not on current spontaneous reactions from what we see posted on social media.
One last word on the upcoming elections: most citizens, regardless of their views, opinions or whom they support, operate in good faith. As Jefferson said, “Every difference of opinion is not a difference of principle.”
However, a few do not operate in good faith.
They enjoy, for whatever sad reason, keeping things controversial. They relish the fact that they are disruptors to the community good, for they believe it gives them the relevance they lack in their own lives.
Do not let these handful of instigators disrupt our community, and let us make our choices based on our principles and not on our fears.
We are friends. We are neighbors. And that should bind us together.