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Observation – the 3rd Responsibility of Citizenship, Part 5

Popularity 2Viewed 1281 times 2017-4-10 01:02 |System category:Life| citizen, apathy, government, bureaucracy, single

If there are two things that can be the bane of any form of government, or two of the leading causes for its destruction, they are citizen apathy and government bureaucracy.  It does not matter if the government type is a democracy, a republic, a people’s republic, an oligarchy, a monarchy, or a simply a “strongman” – if the day to day operations are too confusing, and citizens no longer fell bothered to participate/interact – then that government that is supposed to serve is going to fail in the long term.  Signs of failure will evident in many ways, with some being the most ‘mundane’ levels – such as conditions of roads and sewage systems - to more ‘esoteric’ levels – such as public libraries.  However, it is issues of crime and property damage usually will convince citizens if there leadership is truly worthy of their support or not.  These have been the thoughts in my mind these last few months I have attempted to participate in the local election process for the Village of Hinsdale – where positions of power that will dictate how the local schools, fire department, police, and other services (like the local library) are to be funded and managed.  For all intents and purposes the local level politics here in affluent suburban Chicago-land area have in common with the Beijing and Havana than what is being practiced in Washington D.C. – with single parties running unopposed for positions that the general public usually pays scant attention to.

 

Case in point:  It is nearly a week since the April 7th elections for the Hinsdale Library Board, and there is no word if we (Hinsdale Caucus or the Village of Hinsdale) actually have gotten all four Hinsdale Caucus candidates confirmed.  As I stated in my previous article about this subject, going into the April 4th election, one of the candidates did not get the perquisite paperwork filled correctly in time to both the DuPage and Cook County Election Boards (because the Village of Hinsdale resides in both counties, like New York City).  Worse, they were not able to file in the time the correct paperwork to be considered as a “Write-In Candidate” for the DuPage County Election Commission.  So on election day, there were more than a few confusing questions at the polls on the DuPage County side of Hinsdale – with warnings to people not to “fill out” a 4th spot on their ballots, unless they invalidate the entire thing.  On the Cook County side of Hinsdale, there were a couple of folks reporting back to the Hinsdale Caucus that there was a “Write In” slot – but no visual confirmations were given.  Mind you, the overall turnout for registered voters was less than 20% for both Cook and DuPage Counties – which assured that our 4th candidate was probably going to be elected with less than 400 voters for a village than has a population of about 17,000 (according to the 2010 U.S. Census).

 

Mind you, neither county have declared their election results “official”, but it was the plan to have all four people take up their new positions later this month.  While these four candidates are not looking to take over with a series of major decisions looming (building improvements, staff pay, etc.), they will still be managing an entity that has a staff of about 40 to 50 Part Time and Full Time employees and has an annual budget in the $3 million range.  Those millions of dollars are gained in property taxes from Hinsdale homeowners, who are not looking forward any issues that may cause an increase in taxes for services that may or may not use.  Then again, given the apathetic attitudes, it is most likely that some citizens are just going to “vote with their feet” and leave for ‘greener pastures’.

When people are paying attention enough to care - this diagram explains their citizenship.

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)


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Reply Report HailChina! 2017-4-11 22:00
I disagree. It is best when citizens are happy enough to not pay attention to government/politicians.

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tradervic

China's Eccentric 'Uncle Laowai' from Chicago, IL

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    tradervic: Because I have seen both the benefits and the perils that policy can bring.  No country is an 'island upon itself', to which short term gains are swal ...
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  • Yellow Man’s Burden - The Limits of Power Projection Shown with the Belt and Ro 2017-7-6 11:04

    Liononthehunt: Let me teach u what APRIORISM is:
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    Because I have seen both the benefits and the perils that policy can bring.  No country is an 'island upon itself', to which short term gains are swallowed by long term losses.

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