I appreciate this concerns but one obscure county, still change the names and the contrived local "issue" - and this is playing out throughout the USA in the run up to the Nov. election.
Why am I sharing this? Guess, I still dream of a genuine grassroots uprising, and yes perhaps even networking with some people of passion, ethics and being part of it. (citizenschallenge at gmail.)
How to change the momentum towards constructive outcomes? It'll only happen if YOU engage. Learn about the issues. Go to meetings, listen and learn, and if you have something thoughtful, meaningful to add - DAMIT, SPEAK UP ! YOU CAN DO IT !
It don't come natural for most of us. I've found it to be sort of like dancing, I might look a little foolish to others, but hey they look a bit silly too. What matters is that you share that thought, make it part of the conversation, you'll be amazed at how a couple well timed, careful sentences can change the direction of the dialogue, constructively.
Listen to others, but, demand honesty, truthfully present your opponents position, make statements you can support with objective facts and references, so others can learn for themselves. Be willing to recognize your own misunderstandings, the facts we receive don't always hold up, or get updated. But that's what intellectual honestly is all about, facing our own mistakes and learning from them.
If all they have in response is myths, misunderstanding and lies born of an insecurity and ego-driven faith that they have somehow managed a direct line to God Almighty which licenses them to ignore our physical realities - Well, expose that fiction with compassion, but firmness.
God belongs to and in our hearts and souls, the physical world belongs to physical realities. It's as simple as that. Remind people of what the Bible teaches us in Isaiah, God is beyond our human understanding, and Jesus's Passion is about something quite different than the gates of heaven, it's about living and growing through your own struggles and overcoming failures with your own demons. Jesus is a guide for living not for the afterlife!
(But that's another essay, I digress too much already - still, I tell you, the religious dogma self-certitude that's rapidly drifting into totalitarian attitudes can't be confronted without bring up the Faith in God thing. Guess, that's not true, we can continue ignoring and continue losing the battle for the hearts and minds of regular god fearing people who seem to make up the vast majority of our neighbors.)That went into a surprising direction. Funny how the words simply flow sometimes. Don't think I'm going to delete these, like I often do, this is my learning project - and it's starting to get close to enunciating what I believe needs explicit recognition. Enough of that for now. Here's the main course:
Breen LandUseCode Community Meeting - This Is What Democracy Looks Like !
After submitting this column, I had to kick myself for totally forgetting to mention the wonderful country potluck dinner. There for all to enjoy. So we even had a chance to break bread together, eating together and talking with each other, now that's a good all-American time.
Ironically I came across this a couple hours after posting: