By Amelia Hipps
“To him who is determined it remains only to act.” — Italian Proverb
My first column for Wilson Living Magazine was titled “Apathy Has No Place in Politics,” and this week a group of Rome Pike residents proved that to be true.
In a nutshell, Donna Womack and her neighbors spoke out against a development that would have split 10 acres into half-acre lots with 20 homes on their street.
The home Womack owns, as well as that of her neighbors, sit on five-acre lots.
They did not passively accept the Lebanon Planning Commission’s approval of a developer’s plan, but rather sought to fight for what Ward 2 Councilor Rob Cesternino called “a certain quality of life.”
Womack came prepared with photos, documents and 30 signatures from residents on Rome Pike and Bonnie Oaks subdivision on a petition.
As a result of their persistence, Lebanon City Council voted against the proposed development.
I want to applaud these citizens for realizing government is only as good or bad as citizens allow it to be. By becoming pro-active, informed and professional, these citizens were able to protect their homes, their way of life and property values. All too often people think, “What can I do? The government’s already made its decision. There’s nothing for me to do.”
Well, I would disagree and would point to Donna Womack and her neighbors as examples of what people can do once they make up their minds to take action.
Will you win every battle? Probably not. Does that mean you shouldn’t try? Absolutely not.
Helen Keller, the famous blind and deaf author, political activist and lecturer, once said, “I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.” If we all took to heart the attitude of this courageous lady who became the first deaf/blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in America, think of the changes we could make in this world.
To the residents of Rome Pike who took action and decided to make a difference, my hat is off to you. Well done. Thank you for not being apathetic.
So, the question that remains is this: What cause or policy will prompt you to take action? Apathy has no place in politics or government, and it is up to us – the citizens of our city, county, state and country – to make sure of that by demanding more of those we elect to office.