Criticizing the Government

I have always been fascinated by government, government at all levels. I am involved in local government on several levels and feel that it is our civic duty to be involved and informed regardless of your point of view.

I watch the Southbridge Town Council meeting on the local cable station this past Monday night to see what was going on. I will admit I don’t always watch but I watch this past Monday because I was up for an appointment to a subcommittee dealing with education and human service.

One of the highlights of Council meetings is what we call Citizen forum. This is a time for residents of the Town to speak on any issue not on that nights agenda. It is always fascinating to watch the folks speak their concerns. I congratulate anyone who has the gumption to stand up in public and speak. As someone who does this for a living I know how hard it is.

Last Monday, two residents spoke about the way a local blog, not this one by the way, treats them and other members of Town Government. The author of the blog, who I went to college with and would consider a friend, is an appointed member of a board in town dealing with revisions to how the town operates. I will not go into all of the details as they are not relevant to the topic. On this blog the author has called for the resignation of the Town Manager. He has from time to time, pushed the envelope and I have spoken to him privately about this. Gentle correction from a friend.

The one who spoke asked that this blog, and all other none Town websites be removed as links from the Town Website. Okay I might agree with this. But they are asking they be removed because he is critical of the Town. Well I don’t feel that is a good enough reason. Being critical of the government is part of our job. The loyal opposition has always been important. If it was not for the loyal opposition our Country might not even exists. John and Samuel Adams wrote papers, blogs of their day if you will, very critical of the government whilst serving in that very government! Members of Congress are often very critical of the way our Government runs and the entire British political system is based on the opposition speaking out!

We have freedom of speech in this country and I believe we hold it very dear. The same freedom of speech allowed the two citizens to speak at the Council meeting allows the blogger to write what he does. Does this freedom have responsibility? Yes. We need to be careful of the words we use. If you don’t like what they write about you defend your position or just ignore it. We have 17,000 people in this town and I would be surprised if 1% of that number reads any of the blogs.

Opposition to the government is extremely important and we need to keep it up, we need to be respectful and cautious, but we need to keep it up.

1 Comment

  1. think of it this way you know you've hit a nerve when people at a town meting are complaining about someones blogg..please people get a life and worry about running the town..we all have the right to freedom of speak like it or not…

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