By Christopher B. Pitts
Real democracy depends on everyone participating. That means making the effort to be informed, to question conventional wisdom and the messaging from those with political or financial power, and to take part in the larger conversation about how we want our world to be. It also means taking action to make the world a better place, whether that action is volunteering at the local level for Newton Serves (coming up on May 1) or raising money for global causes like halting climate change.
Today, and every Primary or Election Day, it means taking the time to vote. Newton is one of the best-educated and well-informed communities in the country, and yet our voter turnout is very disappointing. There are reasons for that. One is that everyone here seems to be hyper-busy. Another, at least in the case of local elections – like the one this past November – is that there are few contested races and, many people tell me they feel the ruling political establishment is too deeply entrenched, and whatever the outcome, “the City” will do whatever it wants to do, regardless of residents’ expressed preferences to the contrary. The only way to change that situation is for everyone of voting age to vote, and for more people to run – as I did this past November, and will do again. It’s up to us. Today’s voting is mostly about the people running for president, but there are also ultra-local Democratic or Republican ward committee seats on the ballot. Let’s hope for a strong turnout today.
Informed voting is greatly advanced by transparency in government, an unbiased press with frequent and serious investigative reporting, and a vigorous, civil discourse about the issues of the day. All of these things are in need of improvement in our Garden City. In fact, a number of people in Newton have been talking, for a while, about how Newton really needs an online forum where residents and local business owners could exchange news and opinions in a respectful, polite way, and without hiding behind screen names. Some other online blogs for Newton are under-resourced, little known, or foster personal attacks and rumors as often as useful discussion. Newton deserves, and is capable of, better. For all those who have wanted a blog for a civil conversation about all manner of topics of interest to Newton citizens, this blog is for you.
Welcome to NewtonForum.org. The focus is all things Newton. The rules are simple: everyone must use his or her real name; no one may behave badly. That means no personal attacks or name-calling; no taking quotes out of context to distort the writer’s true meaning; no accusations or innuendo implying that others are racists, “haters”, “NIMBYs” or have any other supposed moral failings simply because one happens to disagree with them. Please cite facts, whenever possible. Please don’t spread rumors. Quite a few terrific writers, representing a wide range of views, have agreed to write for NewtonForum.org. But anyone who follows the rules may comment and participate in the discussion here. To get things started, there are a couple of questions below. And please don’t forget to VOTE today.
What do you most love about Newton? What bothers you the most about Newton?