News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

The antidote to cynicism

It’s enough to make the most ardent patriot a cynic. Our national politics are in a constant, chaotic roil and rank hypocrisy and double standards are the coin of the realm. The worst part is that we feel helpless to affect any change, to even make our tiny voices heard through the constant braying din.

Shouting about it all on social media may provide that delicious momentary shot of dopamine, but it wears off quickly and we all know that it doesn’t really accomplish anything.

So what’s a good citizen to do?

Sisters has no shortage of opportunities for people who want to make a difference. A city councilor recently noted that he’d like to see more citizens show up for meetings when they don’t have a dog in a particular fight. Over the next couple of months, the Sisters City Council will be taking on questions of public safety and transient merchant policy — both of which have a real and immediate impact on our quality of life right here at home.

The city council and the school board welcome input from citizens, and they pay attention. And it’s pretty easy to hold our elected officials accountable when we see them in the grocery line and run into them at the coffee shop.

If politics — even of the local variety — isn’t your thing, you can still make a big difference in the life of our community. The Sisters Schools Foundation is in the midst of its annual giving campaign (see story, page 9). The foundation funds enrichment opportunities that are outside the scope of the regular school budget; the funds they raise have a direct, often life-changing impact on young lives. Sisters Kiwanis Club is ramping up for its holiday food drive and the food bank is always in need of assistance in providing for those in the community who need a helping hand.

This all may seem like small-ball when the whole civic fabric seems to be unraveling, but that’s an illusion. What we do right here, right now, in our own communities is what keeps that civic fabric intact, even when forces beyond our control and influence seemed to be doing their damnedest to tear it apart.

Building a resilient community a bit at a time, shoulder to shoulder with our neighbors, is noble work — and a whole lot better for us than impotent rage or bitter cynicism.

So if your sense of civic duty needs an outlet but you just can’t take any more of the national scene, spend your energies in the local arena. We need you.

Jim Cornelius, Editor in Chief


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