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A republic, if you think you can keep it: ‘If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.’

July 1, 1993

A republic, if you think you can keep it: ‘If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.’

By Tim Huwe

‘If you choose not to decide,

you still have made a choice.’

—From Rush’s song “Freewill”

This upcoming week, we have two batches of civic questions to ask. The more immediate, of course, includes the following. Who is the best candidate in each race? Do any races merit undervoting? Can I do anything to positively affect any election outcomes? Are the upcoming referenda worth supporting? We face these questions quite routinely, and are confident of our abilities to answer them accurately.

Interestingly, the second batch of questions may be more significant. Am I being honest in my current efforts? Are the crop of candidates now worthy of support? Do I find myself voting “for” or “against” candidates more often? Is my country on the proper or improper course? Is there a way I can help make the electoral process more just? Should I become more involved? Which portion of the electoral system needs the most change? Which party or organization appears the most worthy? Of what assistance could I be to them? Whom should I call? When am I going to help make this a better community?

I was discussing Rockford with a retiree recently. I asked, “What should we do to improve Rockford?” He wanted to improve downtown. Maybe the new waterfront idea was a good one. A hotel downtown would be effective. His answers were very familiar. We ought to become more like Madison.

My answer would involve inverting the question a bit. “What sort of people do we want to move to Rockford, and how would we attract them here?” I want Rockford to be the destination of choice for hard-working people wishing to earn an honest wage in the competitive market. When hard-working people decide where they wish to move, I would like Rockford to be on their short list. How can we make that happen?

Madison is a nice city. They have the advantage of the university and state capital. We will not have those attractions. We must make ours a desirable city in a different way. We must have fiscally responsible administrations, from the school board to the county board. Each individual expenditure must be questioned. Is this drawing hard-working citizens to our neighborhoods, or sending them scattering in every direction? Who is accountable for the success of this project? What will be the consequence if the action fails?

It’s not rocket science, folks. Of course, we’re all important. We should be very charitable to those facing difficulty. But each time we coddle those who could work at a productive job, but instead choose not to, we espouse co-dependency. I, for one, don’t want to be the co-dependency capital of the world. Vote your conscience on the referenda.

Rush is a rock group from Canada. Tim Huwe is the secretary of the Rockford Libertarians.

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