It is, unfortunately, a cliché to state that we are living amid contentious political times. Our disagreements can be strong, and extreme language often characterizes their expression. Indeed, one needs merely to review the January 6th tapes to recall the vitriol that characterized— and still too often reflects—national discourse. Locally, complaints about myriad issues are readily heard at public meetings, over cocktails and dinner tables, or filtered through masks while shopping in town. Disgruntlement is easy; positive engagement, however, can dissipate grumbling and put creative ideas into action, and that is a good reason to run for the Select Board.
Concord has an impressive tradition of expressing our concerns deliberately and civilly during formal public gatherings. In the spirit of honest discussion, the Select Board meets regularly to consider the needs of our town. It is this body that advises our town’s public committees and town employees and oversees the enactment of our Town Meetings’ legislative decisions. It provides the guardianship of our democracy.
The demands of the position—there are five members who each serve three-year terms— are impressive, and some have noted that those responsibilities have expanded over the years. There is an opening this coming year on the Board, as Matt Johnson (the present Chair) has decided not to seek a second term. The League of Women Voters of Concord-Carlisle is holding, therefore, an educational First Friday (uncharacteristically on the 3rd Friday of January—January 20th) to explain how citizens may run for a seat on the Select Board and to discuss whether the demands are too onerous for many responsible, thoughtful citizens even to consider running.
To help facilitate the dialogue three former members of the Select Board, Alice Kaufman, Carmin Reiss, and Dinny McIntyre, have been asked to speak about their experiences and to reflect on the ways the responsibilities of Board membership have changed. This way to register for this event is to connect with: email@example.com. We trust that many folks will join us in this discussion to help inform those running and those who might consider running.
Rachel Maddow has published a new podcast entitled Ultra, that explores another divisive time, just prior to WW2, in our country’s history. It is a reminder of how imperiled our national democracy has been and a call to the optimistic conviction that good sense can prevail. Productive democracy, as we are often reminded, is not a spectator sport. It requires diligent attentiveness and thoughtful involvement from each of us, a process facilitated locally by The Concord Bridge.
Join us on January 20th, from 9:30-11:00, to participate in this important, virtual discussion. The link can be found on the LWVCC Website.