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Activate your citizenship
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“They can’t hear you nodding your head”, a reader once declared, urging others to become more actively engaged in our city government’s actions and activities.


Voting is often heralded as a - if not the - most powerful tool wielded by the citizens to steer the ship of state as well as the direction of their communities. But election days are too far apart and seem to have the lifespan of mayflies.


The Ship of State is an ancient and oft-cited metaphor, famously expounded by Plato in the Republic, which likens the governance of a city-state to the command of a vessel.


Plato's democracy is not the modern notion of a mix of democracy and republicanism, but rather direct democracy by way of pure majority rule. In the metaphor, Plato's Socrates compares the population at large to a strong but near-sighted shipowner whose knowledge of seafaring is lacking. The quarreling sailors are demagogues and politicians, and the ship's navigator, a stargazer, is the philosopher. The sailors flatter themselves with claims to knowledge of sailing, though they know nothing of navigation, and are constantly vying with one another for the approval of the shipowner so to captain the ship, going so far as to stupefy the shipowner with drugs and wine. Meanwhile, they dismiss the navigator as a useless stargazer, though he is the only one with adequate knowledge to direct the ship's course.


Do not vote:





We do not dismiss the vote, or the voters, but it is folly to suggest that it, or they, have a decisive role in the management of the government. It is akin to riding in a parent’s lap, holding the steering wheel, pretending to drive the car.


Do vote:





And then …


Monitor the elected. Pay attention. Communicate. Regularly.


Access the City's website here:



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