Friday, May 30, 2014
In a democracy, government is based on the consent of the governed.
In a democracy, the people are sovereign – they are the highest form of political authority. Elected representatives at the national and local levels should listen to the people and respond to their needs and suggestions.
Sadly, all too often, our elected officials at all levels seem to forget they represent the people, not their political party.
Last week, we saw democracy work.
What appeared to have begun as government doing what it saw as best, culminated with government listening to the needs of the people.
And the West End of the City of Georgetown got its gym back.
Both the community of the West End and the County Council members on the County Health, Education and Leisure Committee are to be commended.
The community came together angrily when it learned it was losing its gym and basketball court in the Howard Center. But a few wise and level leaders convinced the community it would get much farther by marshalling its forces, appointing spokespeople, remaining calm and respectful.
The community held meetings and council representatives came and listened. Then the community went to the committee meeting, and told the county what it wanted, what it needed.
And the county listened. In the end, the committee voted unanimously to recommend to the full County Council that the renovation plans be changed to include the gymnasium.
We trust the full County Council will, in turn, listen to the recommendation of its committee.
When the big box stores wanted to build in the Waccamaw Neck in 2005 and 2012, the people spoke and the county listened. And democracy worked.
Has democracy now failed the Waccamaw Neck?
Once again, the county has the opportunity to facilitate democracy. It needs to push pause on the SCDOT and listen to the voices of the U.S. Highway 17 median debate. All the voices.
Sen. Raymond Cleary says it’s not too late.
But if it is, then, sadly, democracy has failed the Neck.