Citizens must become more proactive

Monday, January 21, 2008 | 1:18 p.m. CST; updated 5:09 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Rose M. Nolen

The minute I figure that winter has truly set in, I begin to mourn the loss of all the neighborhood handymen who were always around when I was growing up. If anything went wrong around the house, the heat or the water or anything needed to be repaired, there was always somebody nearby that was willing to come to our rescue. Most of our handymen had regular day jobs, so they were not dependent on the payment from the tasks they performed for their neighbors for a living. For that reason, they were able to accept whatever someone could afford to pay or tell them they had to call someone in that particular business.

Nowadays, everyone has to have a license to do practically anything. Much of the time city ordinances make it against the law to make repairs without a license. That means that these handymen charge for house calls plus an hourly wage. Now they are called, professional plumbers, electricians and carpenters. In other words, when you call them you better make sure you have plenty of money to pay the bill. This proves once again that every time we complain about the way things are, we have to remember that we either made or allowed them to be made the way they are and no matter how many times we try to disagree, it is true, we have the kind of government we deserve. I may mourn the loss of the handyman, but as a voting citizen of an incorporated city, I’m guilty of putting them out of business

Every year, when it turns cold and little things around the house malfunction I find myself going through this tirade. I suppose, if I had my way, we would all live in small villages in spite of the fact that most people probably prefer life as it is. My neighbors and friends have heard my lamentations annually. Anymore they just smile and shake their heads because they recognize this as the lead in to my lecture number 1,001 on why nothing changes for better or worse, until somebody makes it change.

The newest item on this list is for those who believe the two-party system is destroying the country and refuse to present suitable candidates for public office. That’s all well and good, but the fact is until people make that clear to the two parties, they will continue to insult the voting public. I believe that when the parties hold their state conventions, if opposing individuals would obtain legal parade permits and picket these events carrying signs to let these party leaders know their concerns, somebody would begin to take notice. Of course, people should not have to take such a drastic step, but as long as public officials think they can ignore the people who put them in office, there seems to be no other way.

People who are up to no good take matters into their hands all the time. That’s why the world is in the shape it’s in. The Chinese manufacturers seem determined to use lead paint on many of their products and even their wealthy customers don’t seem to be able to stop them. They might never stop unless we boycott the companies that sell these goods. The illegal immigrants will not stop crossing the border until we close the borders down. Scam artists will continue to scam until they are tracked down by law enforcement officials and put out of business. Thieves will steal until they are caught, arrested and put in jail.

Those who want to do the right thing must become activists, otherwise nothing will be accomplished. Sales people would never have stopped calling people on the telephone if state government had not started No-Call Lists. E-mail spam will not quit arriving in your mail box until laws are passed making it illegal.

As far as I’m concerned that’s just another point in favor of village life. It’s easier to get the word out and come to a consensus, so that people can accomplish their goals. When the whole village decides to rise up, somebody will pay attention.

Some older neighborhoods have been lucky enough to maintain the characteristics of a village. Neighbors still look after each other and work together for the well-being of the neighborhood.

Mostly, though, you have to join with like-minded people and create your own village.

That could be the only method left to work toward solutions to the problems facing our country.

One voice when joined with other voices becomes a choir. That way you can make noise, big time.

You can join the conversation with Rose M. Nolen by calling her at 882-5734 or e-mailing her at

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