Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Oh, the irony

I recently sat in a public meeting where a local elected official was complaining about how rural counties are treated by certain state agencies. He said something like, "We did comment, but they ignored us."

I really wanted to say, "Welcome to my world," since I've come to believe that most of my own public testimony before certain local officials, including the body on which this particular gentleman sits, is about as futile as holding my breath until pigs fly. It's not usually what I say, mind you. It's who I am, and more important -- what they think I am, or represent -- that colors their reaction. And I have to tell you, it's pretty frustrating.

My guess is that the state agency in question probably deals with the Regional Council of Rural Counties in much the same way. They think the group's concerns are predictable. They think its solutions aren't practical. They think they've heard it all before. So they don't listen.

Maybe this official and his colleagues could learn from that. Instead of judging and dismissing people or groups who appear before them, they ought to take the time to listen and fairly consider what everyone has to say.

A little respect and listening goes a long way in this world.

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