Posted on Sunday, August 29, 2010 by Michael
Some of us grew up with the notion that it’s impolite to talk about religion or politics in public… and some still feel this way. Others not. The issue comes up on Front Porch Forum every so often when postings about lost cats and plumber recommendations give way to points of view about the school budget or gubernatorial candidates. Here’s Steve’s take on the issue on his Burlington neighborhood forum where 90% of the 400 households subscribe to FPF…
After reading the reasonable and measured responses written by Mark and Jason to Maureen’s viewpoint on FPF usage, I was tempted to thank them both and let it go at that, but the more I thought about the subject, the more I wanted to add my two cents…
I’ve only lived in the Five Sisters for two years, but I’m grateful for the diversity of my neighbors and their opinions. And, as all who’ve met me can attest, I’m not reluctant to express my own. A community is defined by a collection of values, not always in agreement, but strengthened by the dynamics of discussion. The central purpose of government is to bring stability to society, but it is the responsibility of the governed to continuously question government policies, with regard to current social attitudes. If we shirk that responsibility, the government is no longer “of the people”. (remember those words?).
Using Front Porch Forum only to borrow rakes or find the best electrician trivializes its potential and our community. We don’t (or at least I don’t) live here because of our proximity to Lowes, or the many choices in refuse collection. Although these are necessary and useful parts of our lives, they are the trivial parts. Let’s try to identify what is important to each of us to make the world a better place and work within our community to advance our ideas, either locally or globally. To me respectful disagreement about philosophy and politics is preferable to a low key social facade that isolates each of us within our own bubbles of self-consistent rationale.
Posted in: Burlington, Civic Engagement, Community Building, Democracy, Front Porch Forum, Local Online, MacArthur Fellows, Neighborhood, Politics, social capital, Social Networking, Stories, Vermont
Well said Steve!