20 Jul Put patriotism in action at upcoming elections
According to the dictionary, patriotism is “the love for or devotion to one’s country.” Perhaps no other day evokes such a sense of patriotism than Independence Day. With flags waving, red, white and blue bunting decorating porches and store fronts and local parades and marching bands on display, it’s easy to feel a swell of pride for our nation.
Arguably, another, perhaps deeper form of patriotism is active engagement in public and civic life. Involvement in your town promotes a richer community life and ensures that institutions thrive and communities remain vibrant and inviting places to live, work and play. Besides being enjoyable, your participation in community events and activities, together with your friends, neighbors and co-workers does make a difference. Involvement signals that you care about others and that the community itself is worth sustaining.
In fact, there are civic engagement opportunities through DREMC. One of our most important cooperative principles is that of democratic participation. If you pay your bill, you are a consumer-member of the cooperative with an opportunity to provide input through voting for board members to represent you. By casting your vote when it’s time to elect board members, you are engaging with your co-op. These folks that are running for the board are just like you, from our community, and who provide guidance to co-op leadership on a variety of issues and decisions both short and long term.
DREMC also hosts Meet the Candidates events from time to time, and we invite you to attend, meet those running for various offices and let them know what’s important to us in rural America. Perhaps you haven’t voted in the past because you didn’t think you were qualified to weigh in on a particular topic, or maybe you simply didn’t have time. But you do have an opinion on the issues that affect our community, and DREMC wants your particular perspective.
Everyone has valuable experience that informs their decision-making process. Diverse perspectives benefit the whole community. You may have a different view than your neighbor, but together, those perspectives provide a more balanced view of the community. We seek more members participating in the process, because greater numbers reflect a consensus on the direction of the future and the will of the people.
The next opportunity to vote in a DREMC board election is August 13-17 in the Lewisburg and Chapel Hill offices of DREMC where a board seat is open. Results will be announced at our annual meeting on Saturday, August 18 at the Manchester Coffee County Conference Center starting at 8:30 a.m. You can find further details in the August issue of The Tennessee Magazine. We would argue that voting, whether in the co-op or in local and national elections, is a form of patriotism as it reflects a devotion to one’s community and a commitment to ensure that it thrives.
Democracy is not a spectator sport; it takes active civic engagement by citizens to thrive. Remember the words of Benjamin Franklin “[we have] a republic if you can keep it.” You have a voice, you have a vote, and you have an opportunity before you in upcoming elections.