When I sit down to write a post, I sometimes begin with definitions. This was one of those times. I found several definitions of democracy, but all of them began with government “by the people.” That’s a concept we take for granted and a phrase we throw around when we’re feeling patriotic. What we often forget, though, is that a democracy is run, not by all the people but by the people who choose to participate. We saw a great example of democracy by the people in Emory recently.
At the February meeting of the Commissioners Court in Emory, a decision was made to hold the Founder’s Day concert on the courthouse square. If that were all, the democratic process might have ended there, but the decision was also made to allow the sale and consumption of alcohol, and that’s when the people spoke up.
As a writer, I not only produce words, but I read a lot of them, and there are usually a lot more of them than I have time for. I’m sometimes several weeks behind on even the most important reading like my son’s blog and the latest Leader. Because of that, I wasn’t aware of the decision until a couple of weeks ago at our weekly home group Bible study. The issue was brought up during share and prayer time by a member who was concerned.
After that, I began to hear a little more talk around town about the concert. I admit to being a bit of a cynic when it comes to politics. A lot of people talk about it, or post comments on Facebook, but too many people don’t do anything about it. Then, Wednesday I received a call at the church office from a concerned citizen. She called my attention to the front page article in the Leader, which I had not yet read, and asked that I spread the word. Because the original agenda didn’t specifically mention alcohol, the Commissioners Court was scheduled to revisit the issue at their meeting on Thursday. The caller asked that we pray and that we also consider attending the meeting, actually get involved.
Living up to my own cynicism, I breathed a quick prayer for wisdom for the court, posted the information on the church Facebook page, and moved on to other things. By the time I remembered it again on Thursday morning, I had missed the meeting. Fortunately, many other Emory residents were better examples of democracy at work than I am. They showed up at the meeting in force where one person spoke in favor of the proposal and two expressed their opposition to it. Whether it was the eloquence of the dissenters, or the many phone calls the court had received, the previous 3-1-1 vote for the proposal was reversed with a unanimous vote against it.
Since then, I’ve spoken to several people who bemoaned the loss of revenue this decision represents, and others who are thrilled with it. Regardless of which side of the fence you’re on, though, it’s encouraging to see that our little town has a firm grasp on how democracy, government by the people, is supposed to work.
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