Democracy only works with citizen participation

“Every nation gets the government it deserves.”

This intriguing thought applies not only to the nation or country, but to the local level of a democratic government, as well. In a proper democracy, the ultimate power rests with the people. The masses have the ability to elect those we choose to create laws and govern our country, and we all have the opportunity — some would argue duty — to participate in that governing process.

We’ve all got skin in the game and are literally invested in our respective governments financially through taxation. This brings us to an observation we made relative to a story and photo that was published last week on The Mining Journal’s front page about a Marquette Township Board work session.

The board held the session to discuss the township’s 2018 budget, as many local municipalities do. These proceedings are not a “sexy” topic, or a thrilling event by any stretch of the imagination. But they do ultimately result in a tremendous impact on residents.

Budgets set the tone for the entire year, and oftentimes dictate what types of services are and aren’t provided to a municipality’s taxpayers.

Though budget stories provide readers with important information, they admittedly aren’t always the fun, engaging read many of us enjoy when we settle in to look through the newspaper. However, what strikes us as an even more important point, is the photo that accompanied the story on the township’s poorly attended budget session.

Time and time again, year after year, The Mining Journal’s reporters attend these budget sessions and meetings to bring our readers important information that directly impacts their lives. But few seats are occupied by other members of the community.

Unfortunately, we hear little from John Q. Public until after the decisions are made. When the wolf is at the door, so to speak, and utility rates are jacked up or services are cut, that’s when we hear the grumbling.

We again urge readers to participate in the governing process, and that applies equally to voting in Tuesday’s election, as well. Until you become a part of this public procedure, you forfeit the right to complain.

Eventually, we’ll all get the government we deserve. Whether that’s representative of what you want, depends on whether you get involved.