Democracy demands dogged questioning from citizens

Posted 15 June 2016 at 12:00 am


This is NOT a personal attack on any one writer but rather a generalized comment on the types of thinking that is probably occurring in the readership audience. All letter writers are to be complimented for their interest in issues of the day and their effort to voice their opinions.

In reading the “Letters to the Editor” on the subject of Apex and whether or not wind turbines should be installed in the Somerset/Yates area, there were two types of generalizations made that are disturbing in a democracy such as America is supposed to be.

Several statements were made that the citizen meetings had “rude” and “disrespectful” interactions with some of the Apex “speakers.” A democracy requires its citizenry to be dogged in their questioning of those who are telling others what they should and should not do.

Speakers come into a group with certain expectations of how they want to influence the group. The motivation behind these people taking the microphone may be as deep-seated as their own employment.

Get the “job done” or you lose your job or you may lose a “bonus” that would be significant. People from outside the community are especially protected because they do not have to live with the direct consequences of their own beliefs. Such outsiders to the community may live in a workplace bubble where there develops an “echo-chamber” of talk on what is right and what is wrong.

It can take “tough questioning” to break into the “insularity of beliefs” of leaders and so-titled “experts” to get to the reality of the situation. Some people may look upon this questioning as “disrespectful”. A democracy can only thrive if its citizenry is engaged and sometimes relentless in its quest for answers that make sense.

A second worrisome statement was made by a letter writer that “the military” should automatically be trusted. “The military” is a HUGE bureaucracy riddled with politics. I respect America’s military tremendously but it is unwise to automatically “trust” that the military will always “make decisions that are in our best interest.”

People make up any bureaucracy. People are motivated by all sorts of things and are not better or worse than people in any employment. All sorts of people work for the military and the entire spectrum of human behavior and intelligence is found therein.

Two of my favorite TV shows are Matlock and Colombo. The lead characters are annoying, bungling, and, disrespectful at times. By the end of the show, however, one realizes their tenaciousness has solved the mystery. I suspect some of the Yates and Somerset citizenry have a bit of Matlock and Colombo in them. These may be down-to-earth, country folks at their best.

In reading the letters to the Orleans Hub on the wind turbine controversy, to me it seems that the citizenry of Yates and Somerset are to be commended for their time and energy fighting to keep their democratic rights alive.

Elizabeth Storch