According to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, patriotism is “the love for or devotion to one’s country.” Perhaps no other day of the year evokes such a sense of patriotism than Independence Day. With flags rippling in the wind; red, white and blue bunting adorning porches and store fronts; and local parades and marching bands on display; it’s easy to feel a swell of pride for our country.
Arguably, another, perhaps deeper form of patriotism is active engagement in public and civic life. Involvement in your community promotes a richer life, and ensures that institutions thrive and communities remain vibrant and inviting places to live, work, and play. Besides being enjoyable, your participation in community events and activities, together with your friends, neighbors, and co-workers, makes a difference. Simple things like supporting a bake sale or attending a local high school event signals to the young people in your community that you care and support them, and that the community itself is worth sustaining.
In fact, there are civic engagement opportunities through Decatur County REMC. You may recall that one of our most important cooperative principles is that of democratic participation. If you pay your bill, you are a member of the co-op with an opportunity to provide input through voting, just as you did during last month’s annual meeting.
Decatur County REMC, like other types of co-ops, originated to serve a need that was not being met by traditional for-profit electric companies. While providing reliable electricity is our top priority, we are exploring other needs that might not be met otherwise — renewable energy options, like community solar, and access to high-speed broadband. We make decisions based on long-term thinking — what decisions will benefit the larger community in which we operate? One of the best ways you can engage with your co-op is by actively participating as a member of DCREMC — whether that be by voting at the annual meeting, participating in surveys, attending town hall meetings, or by meeting with me one-on-one.
Everyone has valuable experience that informs their decision-making process. Diverse perspectives benefit the whole community. You may have a different view than your neighbor, but together, those perspectives provide a more balanced view of the community. You could be bringing new information that hadn’t been previously considered. We seek more members participating in the process, because greater numbers reflect a consensus on the direction of the future and the will of the people.
Democracy is not a spectator sport; it takes active civic engagement by citizens to thrive, just as you demonstrated last month at our 80th Anniversary Celebration and annual meeting. We are proud to say that we experienced a record number of member votes this year so thank you for your participation. Watch next month’s issue for a complete wrap-up of the event.
This Independence Day, I hope you will embrace the local celebrations and actively participate in your community!