By: Butch Swank
I stumbled upon some interesting relationship advice recently. It’s from a couple that introduced a clever system for the end-of-day talk that pretty much all couples have. They have two categories: Do you want me to listen, or do you want help? It is such a simple thing but also brilliant. Speaking from a dude’s perspective, I only want to help solve my wife’s issue, and most often, she wants to vent a bit and share her day. Good Lord! Think of the arguments I would have avoided by just listening instead of jumping in and barking orders on how to fix these very, in my opinion, fixable problems! Dudes… how do you ladies live with us?
In my book, we have the exact same situation here in that everyone on the East side of I-75 is always a listener. We talk endlessly about how bad traffic is and why it only gets worse. We almost never take the time to help ourselves by actually speaking with the right people who have the power to FIX things. Our County Commissioners are human, just like us. If they are not hearing what bothers us, they justifiably have no reason to help. We cannot blame them if we’re not letting them know how bad things have gotten. If enough people call or email saying the current traffic conditions are unacceptable, then they will act. If they don’t, we surely need to get new Commissioners, but I think it’s only fair that we give them this much-needed feedback first. If you go to www.leegov.com/bocc, you can find your Commissioner there, along with all of their contact details. We’ve all been good listeners, but I say it’s time for us to switch gears and start helping ourselves.
Here’s another area I feel we need to let our local government know about. I’ve been told by multiple independent people that there will be no baseball, tee ball, or soccer in County parks for at least six months because Hurricane Ian damaged a light at one facility, and it then fell during a game. The reaction was to close all parks. Maybe there’s a legitimate reason for the six-month delay, but there have been no efforts to explain it to us. Also, I wholeheartedly agree that if the situation is unsafe, then closing the parks is a good idea. However, half a year? Why not start taking bids and pay extra to get it done fast? Again, the County Commission has a lot on its plate, but it is literally their job to prioritize what happens and where. I feel like our kids have had a really tough couple of years thanks to COVID, and now having no sports only makes things worse. If you’re a parent or even someone that played sports as a kid, I encourage you to contact the Commission and ask if they can help get this done faster.
Thomas Jefferson had an interesting quote: “The government you elect is the government you deserve.” I think what he’s saying is that the common people, us, get the leadership we accept. I am a glass-half-full type, so I always prefer giving the benefit of the doubt. If our local leaders don’t listen to us, that is on them. However, if we don’t share our concerns, then it is unfair of us to criticize them since we have offered no feedback. I hope I’ve made my case that it’s in everyone’s best interest for you, as an individual, to take that extra five minutes from your busy day and start making your voice heard by the people in a position to make things better. We all live in such a beautiful place, and it is our responsibility to look after it. So, once you’re done with your coffee, please make that call or hit send on that email. You’ve moved from listening to helping, and if enough of us do this, things can only get better!