Everyone told us that it was a tough situation but that's just the way things are. You just can't beat the big corporations, especially when they work with city hall, in our case, the county administration. But instead of taking their word for it, we decided to fight. We put the word out throughout the county, started having information booths participating in farmers markets and festivals, and over a few months had a group of hundreds in support. We also organized a web site and several facebook pages and started telling our story. We were even successful in getting time to tell "the other side of the story" through local talk radio which has allowed more people to become aware of the issue. Also, we offered to send speakers to civic events of any kind and wrote letters to the editor and initiated an email campaign. Today we have over seven hundred active followers on social media with the number growing daily.
Now we are in the public hearing phase of the project with local government officials listening to comments and receiving questions. This is a phase that usually has a great advantage for a big corporation since they have lobbyists and other full time assets who are getting paid to provide their input and expertise. But we have marshaled support from a wide and diverse group of citizens, have received attention from various groups that are stewards of the earth and have received expert input from volunteer professionals with a background in land use, water and ecology. This has resulted in a land swell of momentum and at the last meeting you could just feel the audience beginning to swing in our direction.
Now this doesn't mean that we're going to win the day by any means, for politicians are always fickle and are often swayed by promises of campaign support and economic development, but I doubt that whatever happens will be nearly as drastic as what has been proposed. So if we are able to beat back some of the worst of the proposal and keep our story front and center in the community, our odds of reasonable success are quite high. Who knows, maybe we'll even win the whole enchilada, especially with the continuing growth in our following. This decision is not going to be reached tomorrow. Because of our activism, the decision-makers will definitely take their time while they deal with the anguish of having to make a difficult decision with major political consequences for each of them.
Why am I writing about this today? Well, it's because I've watched the spirit and strength of the American spirit falter and wane in recent years. The old "you can't beat city hall" or "the big boys (and girls)" fatalism is unfortunately alive and well in America. Low information votes don't pay much attention and since they make up an ever-increasing proportion of the voting public, many just shrug their shoulders and try to go on, resigned to accepting things that they know in their heart aren't right.
Don't do it. Stand up and fight for what you know is right, not with weapons but with the energy of thought and speech. We can make a difference, we can alter the outcome of big business and big government initiatives if we band together and get involved. There is strength in numbers, but just make sure you pick your causes well. If you get a reputation for fighting just for the sake of the fight, you lose your effectiveness. But when you take on those issues that are truly important where the outcome can be seriously adverse to you and your supporters and to the community and environment of the area as well, it is surprising how much you can accomplish.
Folks, this is what the American spirit is all about. It's about the right to use your free speech to stand for those things that are important. Never assume you will lose, but instead get in the game and get involved and make some noise. Energy begets energy and keeps you strong. If you plan things right and have discipline, the sky is the limit. Oh, it takes time and effort, but if the end result is worth it, then the activity is worth it.
Remember the old saying, "It ain't over until the fat lady sings?" Well, trust me, sheGod bless you all and God bless America.