This column is like preaching to the choir about attending Sunday worship services.
I am, in fact, scolding Dawson County residents who do not subscribe to or read the local papers. Obviously, they won’t read this, but perhaps you who do can use this for conversation tidbits with friends and neighbors who fit that category.
Several times recently, I’ve observed someone expressing surprise when around-the-table or waiting room conversation included comments about some items of interest in local news — unfortunately, not all of it good. “What are you talking about?” one person questioned.
Frankly, I do not like gossip or innuendo, whether it’s about neighbors, officials or church leaders. Some things I really don’t need to or desire to know. But if I have decided to be a participating resident of a community, I should be aware of what is happening to affect that community. Perhaps I would at least know what “they” are talking about.
Years ago I weaned myself from the Atlanta paper; after all, I can get all that news from several television stations. Of course, that doesn’t cover obituaries, and a number of present Dawson County residents still have friends in the metro area. Thus, many still seek out the Atlanta papers to check up on those friends. We really don’t need all the advertising sections; the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce reminds us that we can buy it here. Sports and entertainment sections, however, may constitute legitimate reasons for looking at other papers.
Actually, my point has nothing to do with whether or not all of us “transplants” continue to cling to our former interests; it is, instead, a plea for real citizenship.
If we want to complain about our property taxes, we should be aware of how that tax money is used and what is being done to stretch those dollars.
The majority of my friends are involved and aware: They belong to local churches and clubs.
But when I ride through subdivisions, both named and unnamed, in this beautiful county or eat in any of our nice restaurants or shop in local groceries, I realize how many of our residents are insulated or connected only with small private groups.
Even some of those who join local organizations often remain on the outskirts; they take part in some activity of special interest, but don’t become involved in the whole. Residents, yes; citizens, probably not. What does real citizenship involve?
Maybe one of your animal-loving friends would donate dog or cat food to the local Humane Society if they realized its dire financial straits.
Perhaps when grandchildren come to visit, they would like to participate in some of the various activities that our library offers, if they were aware of them.
So, whether neighbors are long-time or fairly new Dawson County residents, it behooves us to encourage them to be more than just residents. They can easily keep up with what is happening in their chosen community and be participating citizens.
It really is more fun, isn’t it?
Helen Taylor’s column appears periodically in the Dawson Community News.