NEW CASTLE —
The anonymous letter came with a question.
The writer claimed to be concerned about a decision made by a municipal governing body. Supposedly, this action was suspicious, devious and possibly illegal.
The nameless author wanted to know who had the power to do something about this.
Suggested in the letter, of course, was that the New Castle News pursue this question and find the answer.
But there’s no need for anything like that. The solution is clear.
It’s the letter writer — and those who agree with him or her — who are responsible for making a difference. There is no one else more likely to care or more likely to change what’s happening.
Yet assuming the letter writer is correct in his assessment of the situation, he won’t change it. That’s because his unwillingness to take a public stand dooms his efforts to failure from the start.
It’s the consequence of cowardice.
Sadly, he is not alone. I am constantly amazed at the number of people who are dissatisifed with the decisions made by local government. Yet they are absolutely terrified at the prospect of standing up and saying so.
It’s as if they believe questioning authority will result in their being dragged away from their homes in the middle of the night, never to be seen again.
Well, I’ve spent the better part of my life criticizing the incompetencies and the idiocies, the sleaze and the sloppiness of government officials. And I’m still here.
Yes, the people who remain silent have excuses for doing so — lots of them. But they are bunk.
If they believe there are wrongs worth righting, they need to act. Otherwise, they fail through their fear.
Of course, some of those who linger in the shadows of anonymity have good reason for doing so. They really don’t know what they are talking about. And if they go public, they will prove this to the world.
It’s far easier to grouch privately, and pretend your pleas for justice are being ignored.
But there are people who have legitimate beefs and still won’t take a stand. They contact me in the belief that if the newspaper points out the obvious about a dubious public decision, the situation will take care of itself.
Well, it doesn’t work that way. As I have said on many occasions, all newspapers do is print words. It’s up to the people to take action and force changes. If they don’t, then nothing will change — regardless of what’s in print.
There is, in this community and country, a terrible disconnect between government and the people. It manifests itself in a variety of ways, such as lousy voter turnout (check the results from tomorrow’s state primary). It also can be seen in the lack of public involvement in major and costly government decisions.
And more than anything else, it is obvious in the way so many people are fearful of speaking out publicly when they see something wrong.
Good government does not arise automatically. It is the result of good citizenship, constructive public engagement and dialogue. If you are unhappy with your government, work with others to fix it. There is no magic wand to solve civic problems.
NEW CASTLE —
The anonymous letter came with a question.
- Mitchel Olszak
Mitchel Olszak: IRS email fight clouds the issue
A scandal involving the Internal Revenue Service is now focused on missing emails. The absent data could represent the smoking gun Republicans have been seeking in their endless efforts to discredit the Obama administration.
Mitchel Olszak: Iraq is good argument for fracking
A friend of mine is a big advocate of shale gas drilling. It’s not because he owns land and is looking forward to royalties. He owns no property.
Mitchel Olszak: Government officials can’t dismiss Sunshine Law rights
There’s a fundamental problem I frequently see with government. It has to do with the people who hold positions of authority. Too often, they seem to overlook the real reason they are there.
Mitchel Olszak: Forced pooling and a clash of rights
There’s an old saying: The right of your fist ends where my nose begins. It’s a reference to the fact that in a free society, there are still boundaries that must be respected.
Mitchel Olszak: The consequence of cowardice
The anonymous letter came with a question. The writer claimed to be concerned about a decision made by a municipal governing body. Supposedly, this action was suspicious, devious and possibly illegal.
Mitchel Olszak: Jitters about the health effects of coffee remain unfounded
I drink plenty of coffee. The reasons are mainly two-fold. First, I like it. Second, it’s something of an occupational hazard. Traditionally, coffee and the news business go hand in hand.
Heartbleed raises the stakes on Internet security
My column last week dealt with Internet and related scams, along with steps people can take to protect themselves. Today’s column could be termed Part 2 of that topic, albeit from a different angle.
Mitchel Olszak: There’s no reason to be surprised by modern scams
P.T. Barnum once observed that there is a sucker born every minute. Judging from the people who complain about being caught up in computer scams, I think he was too conservative in his count.
Mitchel Olszak: Doubting the basic intelligence of ravens nevermore
Every now and then, I find myself watching the ravens around my house. That’s because their behavior is fascinating, and at times more than a little disturbing.
Mitchel Olszak: Taking a realistic look at Ukraine
Congressional Republicans have taken a tough stand against Russian President Vladimir Putin and his military moves against Ukraine.
- More Mitchel Olszak Headlines
- Mitchel Olszak: IRS email fight clouds the issue