I have been inundated with a multitude of thoughts and feelings since the last Roxbury Town Council meeting I attended, so I have decided to do what I do best and share it in words. I urge you all to become involved in your community, go to Council meetings, and get out and vote!

Harry Truman was wise beyond his years when he stated, "Once a government is committed to silencing the voice of the opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear."

As the close of another year approaches, I find myself facing a sense of weariness. I have had many ongoing projects to manage for almost three years now, both personal and community oriented. I have had the opportunity to personally view how the government functions in my community, county, state, and at the federal level. It has been much more of a learning experience than I could ever have been gathered from an American Government book in an educational setting. To say I have seen democracy at its finest would be a great misrepresentation of the many events I have witnessed.

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I have attended more meetings than I would have ever wished to and put way too many miles on my lease. I have met our government leaders and employees at all levels, in different departments, and even in different states. I have given freely of my time when requested to help others promote their cause. It has been like riding a roller coaster with feelings of accomplishment and feelings of being kicked in the teeth. The most troubling aspect of what I have learned is that fear encompasses many in this community, county, and state, in many different areas. It has taken people in its grips and silenced them. It has limited their voices with the anxiety of retribution. It has altered their decisions and destroyed self-confidence. It has taken away their identities. It has taken those with character and turned them into puppets with rude offensive behaviors, much the same as buildings set for demolition by chipping away at their foundations until the qualities of honor, integrity, and honesty are no more.

There are many issues this community must face: the lack of involvement by residents in local politics; the transparency and accountability at all levels of government is virtually nonexistent; families with parents working two jobs with not enough time to learn about the environment and issues surrounding them; increased property taxes but declining property values and services offered; properties available for sale, but no economic growth; environmental issues that you can’t see, smell, or taste; and most disturbing is the cronyism at all levels of government where friends of the people of power get what they want while the majority of us are ignored while trying to find a solution..

I lived for over 15 years in Roxbury and it was a great place to live, to bring up your family, a town filled with great people, and it was a place that was lively and thriving. Things have changed and not for the better. Those who have been in positions to make positive change seem to be happy traveling their road to fame by participating in community events where they can become a "star" with no regard for those who suffer at the hands of others. Their performances are exacerbated in everything they do and say to further influence the community of their righteousness. Then these people are rewarded by going up the power chain, wielding more power, making more money, and continuing the cycle over and over.  Residents of this community and at every level of government have no recourse for injustices bestowed upon them, and accountability as well as transparency has virtually ceased to exist in the vocabulary of those in power.

Voices have been stifled, news media has been censored, and fear has overcome. I suppose Martin Luther King said it best when he claimed, "He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps perpetuate it." For the upcoming year, may I have the strength, wisdom, and will to never become known as a passive participant and I encourage each and every one of you to get involved, become informed, and most importantly use your voice to speak out and vote!