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One Hand Clapping Saturday, 18 February 2006

Posted by R Garfield in Bemused, Local, Political.

Mark Twain once said,

“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.”

Mr. Twain did not address what to do when you’re the only voice speaking about an issue. When one is drafting an ordinance, and there is no dissenting voice, well, obviously, it means that the draft will likely become the final ordinance.

But does that mean that the writer has done such an excellent job of addressing all the issues that there are no potential problems, no areas that should be excised, reworked, or expanded upon?

I’m the writer in this instance, and I certainly know better than anyone that I have never done such a stellar job at writing anything.

That is the function of committees, and boards; that is the purpose of debate in setting public policy. It addresses issues where one person may have a blind spot, or perhaps only a misconception. It may bring to light areas that may not have been addressed at all, or that harbor ambiguities or unintended loopholes.

When somone disagrees with me; I know where I stand. When someone agrees with me, I know where I stand. When the only thing I hear is silence, I am lost. I don’t know whether my ideas have merit; I don’t know if I’m heading in a positive direction, or not.

What I do know, is that the things I write affect a couple thousand people, some directly, many indirectly; and that in the absence of any debate, I am solely responsible for whatever good or ill my writings cause them… and that is a very scary position to be in.



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