Last week I got a small crack in my windshield, courtesy of a Mack truck going 85 on the I-240 super-collider. I quickly finished my business in the boonies and toodled back to the safety of midtown/downtown. It has now been 5 days since I got that little 1 inch boo boo. I have spent three of those days downtown. The crack has now crept across the windshield and is 11 inches long. Three days of potholes, plywood, cobblestones, and crumbled streets and now I get to buy a new windshield.
Yeah! I’ll take a picture so we can add it to the collection.
This story is not about continuing to blame the City for failing to provide basic infrastructure. They know they get a big, fat F in that category. I share this story because the crack is actually MY FAULT and I should take that help from S.S.A. in preparing my documents.
Yes, my government has an obligation to provide basic infrastructure such as safe roads that are free of debris, plywood, and potholes. But it is my obligation to hold them accountable for it. It’s sort of like the whole, “If you don’t vote, you can’t b*tch when you don’t get your way.”
As a citizen, my obligation to my community doesn’t end when my tax check clears the bank. I also have the obligation (it’s really a BIG privilege!) to make sure those dollars are used wisely. (As an aside, 75% of Memphis’ young professionals feel local government does not use our tax dollars wisely. Check it out: http://ow.ly/5Im5g)
I have no right to complain about the streets until I have complained to the folks who haven’t fixed them. If you don’t participate in your city, don’t b*tch if it doesn’t look the way you want it to.
To be fair, my obligation to be civically engaged is balanced by the government’s obligation to provide me reasonably easy access to the information I need to be engaged. If I am keeping up my end of the civic stick by holding my elected officials accountable, then they need to keep up their end by being transparent about how they spend my money.
I’m fairly government savvy and I know my way around Google, but trying to figure out how to be a part of the ugly-street solution was beyond difficult. I finally gave up after 45 minutes of searching.
So, to those who are in charge of fixing all these potholes, plywood, fountains, and other unsightly issues – please know I am trying to hold you accountable. I can’t find you online, but I’m trying. And to my fellow citizens, I encourage you to do the same. Follow your tax dollars and make sure they’re being spent wisely. Otherwise, we might as well just flush our money down the toilet.
I could really digress in a discussion of government and toilets, but I shall restrain myself. In the end, I can either pay my taxes and not be concerned or never know about where the money goes (just like the toilet!), or I can make a few phone calls or send a few emails and begin holding my government accountable.
Maybe if I keep up my end of the deal, government will keep up theirs?