It is with great joy that I report to you today that the school bond issue that was on yesterday’s ballot in Joplin passed!
While I am excited, thankful, and proud that the majority of voters (57.6%, it needed 57.1% to pass) used their voice to make education a priority in our community, I must also stop and remember that there were many voters who did not feel this issue should pass. And although I disagree with their reasoning and logic (strongly at times, even), I must respect the fact that, since they are affected by the increase in property taxes that will make these schools possible, they have a right to voice their opinions.
This is how a democracy works, and we live in a democratic society.
In some ancient cultures, leaders would strive to ensure there was 100% agreement about an issue before they enacted policy. However, in a country of over 300 million people, this endeavor would be impossible. Communism or a dictatorship also wouldn’t work for us because, quite frankly, most of us would eventually grow tired of the government doing all our thinking for us.
So, here we are, living in a democracy. Which, of course, means we aren’t always going to sit on the winning side in an election. Nor are we always going to agree with our leadership. And that’s OK because we have the opportunity to make changes in the next election cycle.
Our local governments are also designed to allow voters an opportunity to approve spending and raising money (via taxation) in order to improve current municipal offerings or, as is the case in Joplin, provide new facilities for helping improve overall quality of life.
I am thankful to the many volunteers – parents, students, business owners and other community members – who worked so tirelessly to help inform voters about the importance and necessity of this bond issue for our children and our community. They banded together for a common cause and, to me, this is what democracy is all about: the opportunity for citizens to make an impact on their surroundings.
Now the real work must begin. Thankfully my children, and so many others for many, many years to come, will be able to attend state-of-the-art schools to receive a quality education which will empower them to become good citizens and leaders in this and other communities.
Have you always been happy with election results? If not, how did you handle it?