After an historic and record breaking turnout at the town election on May 7, where about 6000 voters cast ballots, one week later, only 217 people attended the town meeting.
I think it’s understandable that we’re all exhausted, and for most of us, the thought of attending yet another meeting was just too much. The last nine months have been grueling (to say the least) and it’s fair to say many (if not most) people want a break from all the business and politics, myself included.
That said, the tiny attendance at town meeting gives me pause. What happened?
Now that May 7 is over, did the town go back to the apathy and the “someone else will take care of it” mentality? For over nine months this town battled, but all sides were in agreement about one thing –they believed they had Foxboro’s best interest in mind and were concerned about Foxboro’s future.
Look what happened – This newspaper needed to expand its op/ed section for months as its office and email were flooded with letters to the editor, guest columns, and statements. News coverage was intense. Face Book and the web were buzzing for months, meetings were held, signs were put up, and the people got involved, often passionately, often unruly.
The future of the town, everyone said. The future of the town.
And a week afterward, 217 people attend town meeting. To vote on matters of the future of the town.
Friends, it’s very reasonable to say we all have battle fatigue. But if the recent battle is to mean anything, whether “your side” won or lost, you need to STAY involved. And that means town meetings should be standing room only. That means that the letters to the editor, the guest columns, and discussion about town business needs to continue.
On May 8, all we were hearing was, “Let the healing begin.” Yes, we do need to heal. But we cannot heal through apathy.
May 7 was a beginning. No matter who won, there will be another election next May, and every year following. There will be town meetings, planning boards, selectmen meetings, and dozens of boards and groups conducting the business of this town. Not to mention all the volunteer organizations and groups working to make the community better, all who need more members and assistance. None of this will happen in a vacuum.
You’ve all made it very clear that you care about the future of Foxboro. The future continues, every day. Please stay involved, please be polite, and please work to ensure that future for everyone by being part of the process. The election is over. The business of Foxboro goes on.