Ignorance is not bliss. It is destructive and is destroying Trumbull County. Thomas Jefferson said, ''An informed citizenry is the only true repository of the public will.'' Because we in this county have not informed ourselves and gotten involved, we have suffered the consequences.
An example of this is the current problem we have with the health department and the inequitable enforcement of septic system regulations. If we, as citizens, had begun paying attention to what was going on long ago, perhaps these problems would never have occurred.
While we weren't paying attention, we ended up with a board of health that now thinks it is acceptable to not allow public participation in its meetings and is even as I write this column attempting to silence those who disagree by taking away their livelihoods.
What else but uninformed voters can explain re-election of the inept and ineffective Tom Letson as the state representative in the 64th District? In the Tribune Chronicle's Sept. 30 endorsement of Mr. Letson's challenger, Randy Law, it was noted that in Mr. Law's two years as state representative, he had accomplished more than Mr. Letson has done in almost six years.
Mr. Letson has also done nothing to help get Trumbull County out from under the consent decree, which holds us to unfair standards on our septic systems.
Letson still has a lien on his home for a federal tax delinquency. When questioned about this in an article in this newspaper in October, Mr. Letson claimed to have paid the taxes, but did not to my knowledge provide proof that he had. He could have obtained and provided canceled checks, but to my knowledge did not do so. Letson also voted to raise taxes while not paying his own.
Mr. Letson can't seem to handle his own affairs well, and yet the voters entrusted him with the responsibility of creating our laws. Were they not paying attention, or is it just a reflex now for most people in this county to mark the name with "D" next to it?
The voters also re-elected Dan Polivka to the position of county commissioner. Mr. Polivka along with our other commissioners delayed recommending a court consolidation to a point where it was almost impossible to pass it through the legislature. When it was finally brought to the Ohio General Assembly, Mr. Letson conspired with his Democratic colleagues in the Ohio House to block it. They chose the party over the public good.
It is obvious that many voters in this county just mark the ballot a straight Democrat ticket without any consideration for whom they are electing. They prefer to vote for the party and not even research the people on the ballot.
There were two fine individuals challenging the incumbents in both these races. If more voters had bothered looking at the men running, they might have realized that they had good alternatives.
If you look closely at some of the non-partisan races in this county, you have to just scratch your head. In two of the Supreme Court races, where party affiliation is not listed, the Republican endorsed candidates did win Trumbull County by good margins. Their names: O'Donnell and Kennedy. I guess they sounded like Democrats so people voted for them.
People of both parties need to wake up and realize that if we don't take seriously the responsibility of being informed as citizens, we will continue to see the consequences of our irresponsibility.
I quoted Thomas Jefferson earlier. He also had something to say about those consequences: ''If once (the people) become inattentive to the public affairs, you and I, and Congress and Assemblies, Judges and Governors, shall all become wolves.''
Wolves ... now that is just so Trumbull County, isn't it? We have public officials who have forgotten that they are public servants, yet we continue to elect them because we have not bothered to inform ourselves about what is going on. So what is the solution?
Inform yourself, inform others and get involved. If every person who reads this would do that, we could start a little revolution right here in Trumbull County. If we don't do it, the wolves will continue to run our county straight into the ground.
Yoder is a Farmington resident. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.