Don't devalue your voice

Thursday, May 17, 2012

A little more than a year ago, about 50 people crowded into Fostoria City Hall to discuss the future of their post office with representatives of the United States Postal Service.

According to many of the attendees, the meeting did not go well. Some said the meeting was useless and the post office would be closed regardless of what they said.

A lot has happened since then.

First, there was a moratorium on post office closings until May.

Then, legislation was passed to keep the offices from closing altogether, albeit at much-reduced hours.

The story may not be completely finished, but for now it looks like the Fostoria Post Office, and thousands like it, are safe.


Because people stood up for them. Residents and their representatives showed that a post office is not just a post office, but a large piece of a community's identity.

People who thought their voice wouldn't matter were wrong.

I may be a helplessly optimistic person who tries to give people the benefit of the doubt, but I think what happened with the post offices is not that rare.

Remember the U.S. Department of Labor's recommendation about child labor on farms? It went away, too, because people spoke up.

Those are just two recent examples with local implications.

The moral of these stories is to speak up. It might take a little more effort than complaining, but usually has better results.

We live in a democracy and we might as well act like it.

If the issue is political, get in the ear of your representatives, and vote them out if they don't respond.

If not, find a way to volunteer your time, effort and maybe even money to make a difference.

Bad changes can be avoided and good changes are best implemented when people realize the value of their voices and put them to good use.