Community - A Lost Concept

Community – A Lost Concept

By Tony DeLorger © 2010


Society has lost its connection with itself. Community does not hold the same importance that it used to. Today we are so tied up with accumulation that we rarely even know our neighbours beyond our immediate vicinity. The idea of community has all but vanished, and one factor that has attributed much to this unfortunate reality is fear. Today we are bombarded with visions of crime and conflict, and we have lost faith in people. We don’t trust any more and that truth has affected our attitudes about issues of not only security and safety, but also human interaction. We carefully choose our friends and those whom we deal with in business and on a social level. This insidious negative conditioning has delivered us to a world where no-one is to be trusted until they have proven that they can be.

How few people will stop for a broken down car on the side of the road, worrying that they could be in danger? How many polite drivers do you find on the roads, willing to give way to you and perhaps add a few seconds to their own journey as a consequence? We have become lost in a world of fear and mistrust. It may in some ways be warranted, given the escalating crime and conflict, but the problem is that if we continue to feed this monster of fear, we simply propagate the current reality.

Community is a concept that should be encouraged and one that can help overcome the fears and build a confidence and interest in those whom we share lives. Sharing is the key to embracing those individuals who tread our streets, buy from our vendors and whose experiences are on many levels much like our own. Community itself encourages family and recognises it as the base living cell of our society. It is a collection of families, who mutually share living and positive goals about how they want the community to look, how it should function, be secure and prosper so families have a more positive and safer environment.

These days, we cast a vote for local politicians whose job it is to represent our wishes. But in all honesty, most of us know little about the people for whom we vote and apart from the process of election, we rarely have any contact or say in what happens in our community. So why is this? We are exhausted from working to preserve our wealth and comfort, and simply couldn’t be bothered to take part. We simply let the politicians do what they do, what they are paid for. But without our much-needed input, just whom are they representing?

Again, our inaction has created a community without us being a part of it. Everything has broken down because of our priorities. Because we have chosen money and the accumulation of material accoutrements and status, we have unconsciously cast aside what are truly important- family, community and society as a whole. Our apathy is the root cause of what is now happening with governments, churches and the like. We cannot sit back and expect the community we want without, one, having a say in it, and two, taking some responsibility and action toward the changes that need to be made.

Democracy can only be as good as the number of people who voice their opinions in support of it, and the process for which it stands. Without the real input of the masses, we are relying on the politicians to take care of business, take on the burden and deliver the goods. This is where the problems begin. Without our vigilance and a clearer form of political accountability, how can we expect our wishes to be fulfilled? Is this scenario acceptable to you? Are you prepared to trust those so-called squeaky-clean orators of the ‘Blarney’? I sure as hell aren’t, certainly not the way it is right now.

The only way to change the current system, is to keep those politicians honest and actually see what they’re doing and why. We need to be interested in our community and to use the power that has been granted us. We need to care for our neighbours and take an active part in events and issues about our community. Sitting back has never been a solution to change and now, with all the current upheaval with crime, break-ins, gang warfare, drug and alcohol abuse, our participation is needed more than ever.

In this new model of democracy, I believe the local councils and associated politicians should have a broader agenda within the community, being the only governmental system apart from Federal. Politicians should be involved in all aspects of government process and change, both as the community representative and as resident, leading their community by example. Having politicians locked away in council chambers is no longer enough and under this new democratic model these politicians will be the face of community and those responsible for daily life within each municipality. In essence, this is supposed to be the present circumstance. But this is not a perfect world and without our scrutiny, many politicians have become lost in their own motivation for service.

So, I believe that community should be rebuilt, with a hands-on group of councillors taking part in all aspects of life within their given areas. Community residents must take part and become more involved within the community structure and a strong family emphasis is a fundamental part of that development. By working on supporting the family unit and then extending that into community, we will have moved positively toward a healthier society. And with stronger values and with a sound support network in which to deal with today’s ever-increasing social problems, we will succeed far more effectively.

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