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Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016

View From The Fence

Wednesday, November 21, 2001

What keeps local government and service organizations from being more successful despite hard work and the best of intentions? After giving this question careful consideration, I've come to the conclusion it is the "Idiot Factor." Too many of these organizations have at least one person who fits the moniker and whatever the project he has to be factored into the equation. Some have more than one.Now don't pretend you don't know what I'm talking about. We have all sat and listened to these people speak. Somewhere, silently, in the back of our mind, we have said to ourselves, "What an idiot!" There you go -- the "Idiot Factor" hard at work.I've attended meetings where members of the group felt the need to argue over every little, insignificant detail. I've even attended meetings where I was afraid fistfights were going to break out, and I've heard people call each other names and mutter obscenities under their breath. These were not meetings in Little Rock or Memphis but right here in our area. These are meetings where the people sitting next to one another are supposed to be neighbors and colleagues.I just can't help but notice the "Idiot Factor" is on the rise in our area. I think these people can be broken down into two groups. The first group consists of the people who gripe and complain about anything and everything but offer no assistance to help correct the problem. These people constantly belittle our elected officials but are not willing to serve in an elected office.Then there is the second group of people. These people gripe and complain about anything and everything but DO try to help correct the problem. I don't know which is worse. In this second branch of the Idiot Factor it gets a little complicated. These people run for elected office or join an organization so they can't be accused of sitting back and complaining, but when they get into power they are even bigger idiots than the idiots they replaced. They never have anything positive to say and are generally against everything, especially progress.Sometimes they form different little groups or organizations of their own, all in the name of speaking for the people. What people? Is there a secret organization I'm not familiar with? Is it called something like WAIT (We Are Idiots Together)? I can just see some of their campaign slogans:* WAIT for some other area to create jobs.* WAIT for all the good people to get tired and quit serving in public offices.* WAIT until our children all grow up and leave here.* WAIT for the economy to bounce back on its own.* WAIT and let progress pass us by.* WAIT and see if the solutions to all of our problems drop down from the sky, tied with a big red bow.It is pretty apparent we may be in for some hard times. The economy is showing signs of distress and every city, county and state in America is experiencing financial difficulties. Businesses are closing and people are losing their jobs. Husbands and fathers have left their families to fight a war and America has been given a sobering wakeup call -- people are dying in America as a result of terrorism. There are more important matters than some of the petty issues clogging our local governments and causing discord among us. At this point I should probably reiterate that I do not feel these people represent the majority of our local leaders. In fact, I have great respect for most leaders and service organizations and think they do an excellent job. But as the old saying goes, "The squeaky wheel gets the grease," and sometimes these people are the ones who are heard the most. Since this is the case I feel it is only fair to give them their fair share of criticism.Are you reading this and thinking I may be talking to you? If the thought has crossed your mind, then you're probably not guilty. It has been my experience that most of these people never recognize themselves. But beware, members of WAIT are everywhere. It could be the person sitting next to you at the next city council meeting. It could be the person holding an elected office. It could be the person handing you a pamphlet outlining their agenda. It could be anyone -- just try not to let it be you.