Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Paper or plastic or something else?

The debate rages on...

but does it really matter? At the end of the day, will a surcharge cause people to change their ways and bring their own reusable bags? Even if they do, what is the overall impact of fewer bags in the Seattle waste-stream? The fee does seem like a good idea and certainly one that a professed "environmentalist" should get behind, but in the midst of the back-and-forth I find myself disenchanted, disheartened and disappointed.

These questions don't get at the real problem that I have with this debate, which is, why must Seattle citizens debate everything? We complain about little progressive change, yet the persistent roadblock are our complaints! We claim to have a legacy of progressiveness, yet we have very little to show for it (especially over the last decade). We react instead of act. We are locked into an inertial crawl, where any true action will knock us from our proclaimed progressive path. Public transportation, the Alaskan Way viaduct, the Supersonics...every issue must be debated and discussed and every single view represented until the deadline has passed! nothing happened! except debate!

Yes, I do understand that our country was founded on the principle of true democracy, where every opinion counts and must be counted, but often, while leaders may have paid lipservice to those ideals, in the end it took visionary leadership to get anything worthwhile done. No, I am not advocating for a rise in back-room or pay-to-play politics, rather I am seeking greater leadership from our elected officials. They are representatives for a reason. They are elected based on their proposed plans of action (I hope). If they cannot muster up the gumption to make a decision for their constituents, for fear of losing the next election, then they are poor representative officials and should be run out of office anyway. The object of the position is not to sit and wait until it's time to throw mud at potential usurpers, but to act and try and experiment and innovate.

Also, I realize that this post itself is a complaint that serves little to no effect in the real world. But that's part of the fun of blogging! Perhaps I have listened to Ross Reynolds on KUOW's The Conversation too frequently (notice how he never pronounces "h", e.g. -uman, -uge, etc.), where callers have their own agendas and lots of anecdotal evidence to share. Perhaps I am being too critical of our elected officials and not giving them enough credit for their work. Perhaps. But I feel mired in the middle, like every decision is an indecision, like every vote ends in inactive compromise.

Okay, this post didn't directly address any of our organization's focus issues, but it was a good chance for me to vent some of my frustration with our local political climate.

Thanks for reading.


No comments: