One of the things the President said in his recent State of the Union address was that the future is ours to win. I think that sentiment is just as true in our local community. Just look at the full plate that we have, everything from IFC Community House controversy, expanding the library or moving to U Mall, a new comprehensive plan and enhancing our downtowns --- to managing the budget crisis at all levels, fighting unemployment, increasing the stock of affordable housing, picking a new school superintendent, and meeting the growing demand for all sorts of social services.
So if all of this and much more is on the road to our future, what do we need to do to win? I think a few of the thing that we can do are not very difficult. We can get informed about the issues that concern us and use that knowledge. We can participate in a variety of ways, for example, by applying to serve on boards and commissions and even by running for office. We might also speaking before government, write letters, attend meetings, and volunteer with organizations that have interests we share. But being informed and involved is not enough; we must also have a commitment to civil discourse.
As Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt said recently, we need to be civil and thoughtful as we work to solve the issues that face us. I think that more participation before decisions are made will make for better decisions and these better decisions can reduce the great divides we sometimes experience as we put decisions into action.