Amelia wanted to write a glowing report of how she commented about a storm drain, and it was fixed the very same afternoon. She thinks that is downright swell. The power of a well placed bulldozer.
Amelia wanted to tell the story of how she had to follow a town committee member outside town hall, for him to smoke, in order to speak her request. He hopped right in his truck after she spoke, and came to survey the need. Amelia does not expect, nor does she deserve, that level of service. Again, swell, thanks! (Although she paid for it, after all!) Instead, there is another, more important story to tell.
While the town committee man/supervisor of public works and Amelia walked the roadway, she said, “I am so sorry for whatever I do to make it appear that I am public enemy number one. I really do not want the conflict. I want to feel comfortable to ask questions and not be called a ‘negative effect on my town,’ not to be insulted with conjecture and theories of what I am doing and why and for whose gain. Really, this should just be about asking questions and getting answers. This should be about a citizen having an opinion and representatives hearing it and responding professionally to it.
Silence, head still turned away from me. No comment.
Amelia goes on:
And if I ask questions that make people mad and uncomfortable, then what am I supposed to do with that? Stop asking questions, I know. You want me to stop asking questions. I get that message loud and clear. As long as I am asking questions, you are going to bully me at town meetings, in my private life, and in cyberspace.
You think that I will go away because I am intimidated. Ha! I sure do understand who is willing to have a conversation and who will not speak with me about politics. Who is creating a culture of fear, a community of haters, and who is making every student in the school a journal so they can start journaling their words and making art to decorate their words and inner landscape. Who is threatening their citizen with guns, and who is asking simple questions of transparency.
You want me to submit to you. You want me to submit to your slander and harassment and your 5-minute, untimed, not uniform-ably applied, policy reign? I will not.
The public works/committee man kept his head turned away from me while I said all this.
Then the committee member answered, head still turned away from me, “I don’t want to talk about politics with you.”
I said, “Really?”
Amelia keeps spouting, or spewing, or verbally adjusting “I think dialogue can be good. Please, you, really? You really cannot talk to me? Really? Nothing- about politics?”
“Nothing” he said. Head still turned away from me.
Amelia couldn’t help but reference the line used by this individual who refused to participate in a public Q & A at election time, “Anyone can talk to me about anything whenever they want.” (As long as it is not on the record.)
So I learned an important lesson. I have representation on the road crew, but not for my town’s government.
Amelia will move underground. It becomes imperative to survival; if you want to read my writing wait for the book/TV series (in discussion with Directors of Malcolm in the Middle now). And while my line of civility has been crossed by the turquoise man yet again, you can be assured that I will continue to be involved in local politics and suppress the desire to never be in the same room with the mayor whose person is shrouded in a black aura that no amount of turquoise can camouflage. Your strategy of intimidation, harassment, and threats will backfire.
In closing, it makes the most sense to quote my dear sweet remarkable dead father. A man of great principle and moral code who headed the State Attorney Ethics Review Board for years. He would play a game with us around the dinner table (when I was barely a teen) which he called “Ethics in America;” in this game, he would give us a hypothetical situation and we had to unpack the right decision in the appropriate pros and cons. Here is the line my father would have said in this exit situation, for he spoke frequently without giving his opinion:
“Time will tell.”