UPDATE AT 07:30 AM
Stark County Commissioner Janet Creighton has been commenting here and there since February of this year as to how apathetic Stark Countians are when it comes to participating in the decision making process of Stark County local government.
It has been frustrating to her and fellow Commissioners Thomas Bernabei and Pete Ferguson, for all of them, as they have fanned out into Stark County and 21 community meetings in their endeavor to get citizen input into what the commissioners should do to deal with an impending county financial crisis only to be largely ignored by the Stark County public.
At their Canton meeting, nobody from the public turned out. And it was common that only a handful, if that many, would show up over most of their meetings across Stark County.
With the beginning of the onset of the Occupy Wall Street campaign which started in lower Manhatten in New York City on September 17th, public apathy may be a thing of the past.
The SCPR's take on the "Occupy" participants is that they are very angry people. In a comment to a Harvard Business Review article Anger as a Binding Force, in Chambers of Commerce and Elsewhere, (Robert J. Bennett, professor of the University of Cambridge, the U.K.) expresses in common man way the anger that is the heart and soul of the "Occupy" effort as well as the Tea Party movement, to wit:
Anger focussed (sic) in the right direction can be a powerful force for change. This is seen not only in Chambers of Commerce but diverse places like the Arab Spring, the feminist movement, and the Civil Rights movement.
Now if only we would get more angry about abuses of power in the corporate and political worlds and not just say "I'm as mad as hell and not going to take this anymore" but actually organize to bring about change. But this does not play well in political circles and on corporate boards.
What do we need? An American spring as seen in the Wall Street protests?
Inspiring leaders to inspire others
The Occupy Movement is now sweeping across the entire nation and will be coming to Canton this coming Saturday.
Micah Miller, who has lived in Canton since the late 1990s and is a graduate of Canton McKinley High School (2007) and in the process of completing undergraduate education at Kent State University Stark, has been energized by the events in New York (where he has connections) and decided to bring the Occupy Wall Street to the Hall of Fame city.
Here is Miller's press release:
In solidarity with the movement begun in New York known as #occupywallstreet, we are proud to announce that on October 15th 2011, in coordination with demonstrations worldwide, #occupycanton will rally supporters in downtown Canton. #occupycanton, being a completely grassroots movement committed to participatory democracy, will hold this event with no affiliation to any political party or candidates for public office.
We are rallying to voice our opinions as the 99% of the population who are often left behind by an economic and political process which has been manipulated by unelected, unaccountable corporate interests.
The #occupycanton “People’s First Assembly” will begin at 12:00pm on October 15th 2011 at Central Plaza Sout
The event is open to all people, of all political persuasions, both blue collar and white, union members and business owners who feel that their voice is not being heard on Wall Street or in Washington DC.
All those who wish to speak will have the opportunity to do so. The First People’s Assembly will adhere to true democratic principles of self government. The event has gained momentum on Facebook and other social media outlets.
#occupycanton is part of a much larger movement of the 99% stepping forward to demand our voices be heard and that policy be carried out for the betterment of all people, not just the privileged few.
Miller says that he has heard from a number of public officials in response to his announcement and further understands that Canton Mayor Healy is supportive. He says officials responding include Canton councilmen (the SCPR has spoken with unopposed Canton council candidate about his interest in supporting the event and has a copy of an email in which Plain Township Trustee Louis Giavasis takes an interest.The rally in Central Plaza will be the first of the #occupycanton movement, not the last.
Miller was quick to tell the SCPR that should someone like Mayor Healy wish to address Saturday's assembly, he will have to get in line with everybody else who has something to say and take his turn.
It will be interesting to see whether or not Healy appears and if he does, will he be content to take his place in line?
If he does, such would be quite a switch for him as he reportedly demanded a front and center role at a 9/11 commemoration event held at the McKinley monument last month.
Could it be that Miller's effort might spark Stark County's citizens to shed their apathy and seize the day and become active participants in every level of Stark County local government?
Let's hope they are angry in a helpful way!