Government only as good as its people

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 12, 2005

The word "democracy" gets tossed around a lot but the true meaning can often be lost in translation. The concept is easy to explain but more difficult to execute.

The experts at Webster's define democracy as a government by the people; a rule of the majority or a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised through them by a system of representation usually involving free elections.

Sounds simple enough? Not hardly. The most fundamental part of the entire process is the six letter P-word that makes the entire system go: People.

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As a nation, we are all so very proud of our political system that has served us well for more than 200 years - and rightfully so. But without good, smart people taking a leadership role, the system grinds to halt and ceases to function as intended.

Active participation comes from many things: speaking out, exchanging ideas, voting your conscience, following up for you beliefs and standing up when no one else wants to do so.

Here in Lawrence County, we need some people to stand up - and do it quickly before the Aug. 25 deadline to file for political office passes us by. Right now, the county sorely needs concerned people interested in the overall good of the community to take a leadership role.

Four seats will be vacant on all the county's village and city councils. Some councils may not even have enough candidates to fill their slots.

In Ironton, four city council seats are up for grabs in the Nov. 8 general election but as of today only one candidate is on the ballot. Several of the incumbents have picked up petitions and are likely to run but that is not enough.

Rightfully or not, nearly everyone on city council has had their integrity and motivations questioned. As the city faced many challenges in the past few years, countless community members were quick to blast the councilmen for not doing the right thing and not working towards the greater good.

Where are those people now? It is easy to throw stones but far more challenging to offer solutions. We urge anyone interested in the city government to step up to the task of turning the city around.

The same applies to the township and school board races across the county. Half of all the county's township trustees will also be up for reelection. Every school district will elect at least two members.

Why should someone run? It certainly is not for the pay received for a mostly thankless job. The true rewards come when positive things are accomplished and everyone can sit back and say, "Yes, democracy worked."