A Simple Platform

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NA Confidential (and each of us who contribute to your daily fix) is about two things: value and values.

Each of us, to varying degrees, sweats it pretty hard before burning these pixels into the site for your enjoyment and edification. Whether we’re trying to amuse you or stimulate you or educate you, we aspire to excellence, accuracy, and relevance. So giving you value for your time spent here is our first priority.

On further reflection, our mission includes another “V” – variety. But we find ourselves compelled to espouse our values, and those values are threatened by the current state of affairs in our neck of the woods.

Sure, creeping corporatocracy and kleptocracy deserve to be called out. A triumphalist streak that dominates what is, for most of us, the mainstream of religion, deserves to be called back to the values of the Great Rabbi. And the ballooning tendency to assert our nation’s will over that of other nations could rightly rally the words of a million bloggers.

But for better or worse, NA Confidential finds itself in a position where all of that seems indulgent and slightly egotistical.

That’s why this Web log has evolved to become a window onto the systemic dysfunctionality of our local community and the issues that press and oppress us.

These recent months have been critical ones for our area. And as you read these words, there is only a glowing ember of hope that future weeks, months, and years will bring the fetus of communitarianism that has been conceived here to a full-term birth, and a rich life of promise and progress.

We believe that the responsibility for pre-natal care rests with each of us. It is individuals who will demand the resurrection of New Albany, Floyd County, and all of Southern Indiana.

The ongoing traumas that characterize our body politic can be attributed to one phenomenon. It is a phenomenon that can occur in any place and in any time, but that has become a self-reinforcing spiral into mediocrity that cannot go unaddressed.

The problem is not “the system.” It’s not even the proverbial “good ol’ boy” network. It is individuals who are no longer accountable to the people they purport to serve. And the reason they believe they can wield power without responsibility is, well, frankly, because they have no contrary experience.

The voters remain disengaged, if not repulsed, by what passes for government here. Symptomatic of that repulsion is their tendency to avert their eyes from the problems and give those with less delicate sensibilities free rein to exert their will. Until recently, only a minuscule segment of the community expressed an interest in local government, and those in power had come to believe that that myopic segment represented the will of the people.

That’s no longer the case. In the past, small groups of citizens coalesced around a single issue, and usually that was an issue poisoned by self-interest more than by community interest.

As articulated well by CM Kochert, those groups always “went away” once they had “won” or “lost” on their single issue of interest. For the most part, New Albany’s city council, and particularly the entrenched incumbents, have been acting rationally. No one cares, they rightfully assumed. No one is willing to put in the time and work it takes to be engaged. Party dominance, hierarchical “rights” to office, and demagoguery have sufficed to keep them in power. Every fiber of their being has told them that an appeal to the lowest common denominator, the barest minimum of change, is a winning formula.

We think it’s fair to say that time has passed. Daily, the citizenry has become more engaged, more involved, and more tenacious. The values that are shared by the majority have been shortchanged, and that majority is setting aside their revulsion and choosing activism. We don’t think this movement will fade. These people won’t “go away.”

People who support public investment in making our communities livable and civil will no longer blithely hand over their tax dollars to be spent or misspent by elected officials who are doing everything in their power to defeat those values. Elected officials will “represent” or find themselves reminiscing about the vast miscalculation they made. The people are engaging and will continue to do so.

And as they involve themselves, as they engage, NA Confidential will be here to chronicle the movement. The structure of a platform for progress is in place. Building the edifice by articulating the planks of that platform remains.

And as loyal readers will attest, NA Confidential is no monolith. Unlike other forums, we invite challenge. We welcome unconventional thinking. We actively solicit ideas. This is an inherently liberal idea, and one that we embrace.

If you have the courage to join us, please do. Our respect for your right to contribute to the building of a livable city is predicated on the values you see displayed here each day: Have the courage to state your views “by right,” without fear. And tell the truth.

Come to think of it, that’s a platform in and of itself. See you soon.

By the way, NA Confidential qualifies as a “downtown” business. This “downtown business” supports Scribner Place and the YMCA*. We’re pretty sure we’re part of the majority, downtown, throughout the city, and all over the county. But we are willing to subject the question to a telephone poll if the petitions don’t convince you.

* In case you didn’t know.

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