Participation should still count for plenty in our government

You might get outraged reading about government or an issue these days.
Or you might want to get engaged in the issue or the process. Especially if it directly affects you.
We believe it’s always better for the public to participate because, after all, it’s a requirement in a democracy.
Following a contentious several months over the city of Morgantown’s efforts to annex 3.8 square miles surrounding it by minor boundary adjustment all appears quiet, for now.
But indeed, rather than allowing this issue to slip off into oblivion the city and the opposition to this proposal have gone back to the drawing board.
The city appears to have extended its timeline for another three to six months beyond its original timeline for taking its proposal to the Monongalia County Commission.
It also may be reconsidering its approach to these minor boundary adjustments — taking a piecemeal approach to the same areas, but not in one fell swoop.
Meanwhile, the primary opposition to this proposal — Forced Annexation Isn’t Right — is helping to draft legislation that would end annexation by minor boundary adjustment statewide.
For now, state law allows municipalities to annex through vote, via petition and by minor boundary adjustment.
Minor boundary adjustment only needs the approval of a municipality and the county commission. The other two options require a majority of freeholders — registered voters who own property — to approve such proposals.
We are not signing off on F.A.I.R.’s effort or what we suspect will be a vigorous defense of the minor boundary adjustment option by the West Virginia Municipal League.
However, we realize though others read about annexation or even have experienced it, no one knows it better than those experiencing it now, whether it be the targets of such a proposal or those proposing it.
Make no mistake, there are no participation trophies handed out or award dinners for living up to the obligations of a citizen in a democracy.
But if you want to change a law or create a new one, the best thing you can do is become a participant in the process. That’s why professional lobbies and grassroots organizations exist. Not only to rally for changes and new measures, but to also defeat other efforts.
For those who participate in such a process the first lesson they learn is patience — things don’t happen overnight and you will face setbacks and possibly even failures.
But unlike your home, your classroom or your workplace, which are not democracies, you can change things in what is a democracy — our form of government.
That is, by embracing the role of a participant. Others are just observers.

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