Augusta has the potential to be a model community, but time and again our progress is impeded by good-ol'-boy politics, shortsighted leadership and, not least of all, a complacent general public.
The accepted policy of five black/five white commissioners is nonsense. This 50-50 split, along with a more efficient government, was among the major incentives to assuage the public on consolidation. By accepting this "split-race" standard on our commission, we are probably ensuring ourselves years of divisive politics and public opinion. The race issue has become so polarized that only a white candidate will win in a white majority district and a black candidate in a black majority district.
If it is true that "the righteous are as bold as a lion," why then are we, as God-fearing people, so insecure or afraid to shake up the political nest and bring forth change? I am sick of double-tongued politicians who talk a good game in public but, behind the scenes, bow down to their political daddy who dictates policy to them.
More and more, consolidation is starting to appear as a wolf in sheep's clothing, and when the wolf feels that he no longer has to disguise himself, he will boldly walk around town and attempt to devour all those opposed to him.
Consolidation was a brokered power deal between the controlling political groups that has gone bad. Now that our consolidated government is in place, the various special interest groups are headed back into battle for political and economic power - all at taxpayers' expense.
Finally, our government infrastructure is well-occupied with political cronies who in some cases were given jobs or management opportunities that they otherwise would not have qualified for. And now, in 2004, we are witnessing the end result of years of cronyism, crooked politics and non-visionary leadership. Ironically, the simple answer or remedy to our local problems lies with the people. Where is our pride, dignity and courage?
Brian Green, Augusta