This Tuesday Rockland voters, or more strictly speaking 694 of Rockland’s 5,138 registered voters, went to the polls and, by a two to one margin, elected Amelia Magjic to the City Council and approved a $26.9 million school budget. In May that school budget was passed for referendum by a vote of 19 people who attended a public meeting open to all the citizens of Rockland and four surrounding towns.
Why are citizens content to let so few decide? Is it that they are, in fact, so content with the decisions of the few? Is it that they believe that the “deep state” will decide and that the election is irrelevant? Are they just lazy, depressed, or complaisant? Perhaps it is a combination of all these things, and others.
Meanwhile, we are moving forward. Reality is changing, and our species is adapting, as it has for millions of years. Amelia Magjic, 39, represents a new wave of thinking. She is a charming, intelligent and thoughtful artist and psychologist. She has lived in Rockland for less than one year. Her fellow candidate, Steve Carroll, 66, represents an old wave. He is an appliance repairman who was born in Rockland and has lived here almost all of his life.
Steve declares himself delighted with Amelia’s election and thinks she has good skills for healing the wounded feelings on our divided council. Steve’s unwounded feelings are both cause and effect of the extraordinarily friendly spirit of the campaign, something that both Steve and Amelia deserve credit for. If we could all move forward in that spirit, what greatness could we not achieve?
“Listening is the big thing,” says Steve, “not saying ‘this bothers you? Too bad, I’m going to do it anyway.’ We need to think about the conversation.”
As the old wave loses its power, it is inevitable that there will be regrets, and bitterness; but power, and life itself, is transitory. Those of us who are getting old and impotent must be content to advise and consent, and to pass on, and away.
The new wave has duties too, on the path that is progress: to listen, to respect, and to seek that advice and consent. The new wave believes in diversity, but will it be tolerant of the “deplorables,” and those “whose hearts are hardened?” Will we listen to each other? Will we understand each other? Will the new wave be beautiful, happy, and inclusive, or will it be a rebuke: egotistical, selfish, and exclusive? It is up to us to decide.
Our changing guard, and all of the above questions and more, will be the subject of the Rockland Metro show on WRFR this Wednesday from 5 to 6 pm. Calls will be taken at 593-0013. To join the studio discussion, email firstname.lastname@example.org