Last night, my husband and I went to a city council meeting and Ky and Bugaloo came with us. We gave them the option of coming with us or staying at Grandma and Grandpa's house with Peaches and JJ. I had a feeling Ky would want to go, she has asked many questions about government, especially local government. I wasn't too sure that Bugaloo wanted to go, but she said she did, and off we went. Within the first 5 minutes, I could tell by the look on Bugaloo's face that she was bored out of her mind. The empty stare, the chin on the hand, the huffing, the red-eyed almost ready to cry look. When I asked what was wrong, she calming said, "Mom, this is soooo boring." So I pulled the notebook out of my purse and she proceeded to draw pictures the rest of the 2 1/2 hour long meeting.
Ky, on the other hand, was very interested. She kept asking questions about the procedure. We were there in opposition to some zoning changes that will affect our neighborhood and it was an intense and emotional meeting. There were many new things we learned. Ky had a question about the procedure after one of the council votes and so at the end of the meeting, we asked the Mayor and a council member if they could explain to her what would now happen and they were gracious and helpful.
The thing that I found interesting, was this; there were about 80-90 people in attendance to show opposition for the zoning change, (which is great, community action at work) but after that agenda item was finished and closed to public discussion, everyone left. The Mayor said that there were a few more items for the council to take care of, so anyone that wanted to stay could, or you could go. Every person left the room, except those that needed to be there for another agenda item (this was only 3 people). I was shocked to see that no one was staying for the remainder of the meeting. I stay seated and looked at my husband (he was also putting on his jacket). I said that I thought we should stay, we were there to experience government and we would stay til the meeting ended.
I think that spoke loudly about a lot of the problem with government in our country. No one wants to get involved or participate unless it is something that they feel directly affects them. I should know, I used to be one of those types of people. We need to realize that it ALL DIRECTLY or INDIRECTLY affects each and every one of us.
We even had people thank us for staying and at one point the Mayor asked us if we were there for another reason. I said no, we are here to experience our government. So, when we got in the car I announced that I would be attending all the city council meetings were possible and asked if Ky and Bugaloo wanted to go with me. Bugaloo, of course, said no (and that is fine, maybe someday) but Ky said that she would really like to.
I do want to instill in my children an overwhelming feeling of patriotism for this wonderful country we are lucky to call home. I looked up the definition of the word patriotism: