To the editor:
The ... (March 13) Messenger had a picture of a "packed house" at the crosstown connector workshop at Iowa Central. Additionally, the newspaper reported a variety of comments, announcements and opinions - as well as some plaudits and standing ovations.
Standing ovations usually imply agreement or consensus when observed, or described in a news item. However, huge crowds, applause, cheers and standing ovations are very often staged. It's "make believe," and sadly, most citizens are totally unaware of such tricks.
Individuals or specific interest groups work diligently to influence or manipulate public thinking on an issue. Therefore, they are very familiar with such staging tactics. The group's leaders alert their devotees to attend a meeting, to bring others, arrive early, fill the seats, create a "shut-out" for the general public. Such a group will also stage affirmative audience reactions to "stack the deck" of public perception in their favor. Even novice political activists know the routine.
Our American history has long proven, "Discontent is the first necessity for change and progress." Our history has also taught, the job of a good citizen is to keep his eyes, ears and especially his mouth open. Nothing is ever accomplished when citizens stay home, do nothing, say nothing. This was proven at the last election.
The local citizens' disgust, distrust and desperation overrode their apathy of believing, "I'm just one person, I can't do anything" or "Why vote? My vote won't make a difference." Wrong. We all have heard of or read about one vote victories in city, state and national elections. When that happens, it is "bull's-eye" proof of the value of each citizen's vote.
With any election, a new era begins which requires suggestions, encouragement, support, approval and even positive scolding for the elected. Citizens provide this when they "stay connected" with the elected by attending any and all open meetings available.
In America you are allowed to express your ideas freely. You live in America. Don't overlook exercising your right.