Dick Palmer: Volunteers needed to fill government's gaps
The world today is in a mess and there are no easy answers. Iraq's deposed dictator Saddam Hussein is blatantly thumbing his nose at his accusers and a circus court drama will captivate the world legal scene for months, maybe years on end. Surely...
The world today is in a mess and there are no easy answers. Iraq's deposed dictator Saddam Hussein is blatantly thumbing his nose at his accusers and a circus court drama will captivate the world legal scene for months, maybe years on end. Surely there is more to life on Earth than this melodrama of deceit.
The Minnesota Vikings, now on a roll, have apparently shed their boat party escapades for the moment. As long as they keep winning, all will be forgiven or at least temporarily forgotten. No matter how the Vikings end the season, a few hotshot athletes have done irrevocable damage to professional sports and its public image. Their foolish escapade cannot be swept under the rug because there is too much at stake. The moral fiber of our great nation is in the spotlight ,and this issue needs to be addressed.
With natural gas, fuel oil and gasoline prices way out of balance for most Americans, we simply cannot ignore the danger these increased costs are reflecting on our total economy. Indeed, America is in a mess, and too few are willing to step up to the plate and take on this challenge. Oh, our politicians, especially in the months ahead, will be pounding on their chests, accusing the other guy or gal of wrongdoing but, alas, the political rhetoric will do little to soothe the pain and suffering foisted upon us. Unfortunately, the rest of the story is yet to unfold.
Tax statements indicate most echelons of government need more money. When things get tough, government doesn't roll up its sleeves. It simply demands more.
What ever happened to ingenuity and self-confidence? Are they just fancy words cluttering up the pages of the dictionary. Well, I see another word in the dictionary worth defining. Volunteerism: "The act of choosing freely to do something; to offer to enter into service by one's own free will." In other words, volunteerism is something we are willing to do without special compensation. We do it to service the needs of others, and that's the beauty of it all.
For years, I have been volunteering at a local hospital and have found this experience rewarding. That, of course, may not be your cup of tea but consider other options. Thousands of area residents are actively engaged in volunteerism but there is always room for more. And besides, I have an ulterior reason for bringing the issue of volunteerism up at this time.
Yes, I see the Salvation Army kettles bustling at Christmas time and I participate. That effort, though meaningful, is only the tip of the iceberg. There is much to do, and it doesn't necessarily require money.
Apathy is another word that requires some mention. Webster says apathy is a lack of emotion and indifference. Obviously, this seemed to be the case at the annual truth-in-taxation hearing recently conducted by the Duluth City Council because no reported speakers were listed.
This is the time for residents to address the Council's budget plans for next year. Yet, no one was willing to ask questions or demand some sort of accounting. When those tax statements do arrive early next year, look for the usual hue and cry, but there is not much that can be done about it after the fact.
Government at all levels, needs to tighten its belt. I see opportunity here for volunteerism like never before. Neighborhood get-togethers may be a good start. Streets, snow plowing, trash, etc. If it looks like enough people are willing to get together, invite your city councilor to sit in.
The idea is not to sit around and complain, but to share ideas on how to fix a problem and save some taxpayer money. This is where volunteerism can catch on: neighbors working with neighbors for the mutual good. It is a great opportunity developing a jump-start strategy by ordinary citizens who love this community, want to see improvements made in their individual neighborhoods and are willing to step forward as a unit.
Honestly, it is worth considering.
On the lighter side
The traffic cop stopped Sven, and he said. "I'm afraid your wife fell out a couple of miles back."
"Vell, tank goodness." said Sven. "I tot I vas going deaf."
Dick Palmer is the former editor and publisher of the Budgeteer News. He may be reached by telephone at 729-6470 or by
e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org .