‘Small things’ can change our outlook

Did Russian Agents interfere with our election? Did the Trump Presidential Campaign collude with the Russians? Do you know? Do you care?

Did Hillary wipe the server clean to hide her incriminating emails and dirty dealings? And what really happened in Benghazi? Do any of these things matter in the grand scheme of things?

While these questions seem to permeate our news on a daily basis, life must go on for the average working family; or the middle class as we are so often referred to.

As I write this I think of all the chatter that tends to consume us and about things that truly don’t make a hill of beans difference in the lives of most people. The noise from Washington and Albany soon becomes that, just noise that is eventually tuned out. If all politics are local, then maybe it is time for those of us here in Chautauqua County to try to focus on the trees and not the forest.

We have our elected leaders throughout the county promising jobs, economic growth, and sharing their auspicious goals for a better and greater place to live, work and raise a family. That all sounds good, but can it really happen. Our county’s unemployment rate (as of the last quarter and reported by state Department of Labor) is 5.3 percent while the national average is 4.1 percent. That may not seem significant, but let me assure you, it is.

Do the Russians have anything to do with these statistics? Is our unemployment rate higher than the rest of the country because of Hillary’s lost emails? The answer to both of these questions is no. It is higher because of the taxes, regulations on business and industry, a lack of vision by the very people the government is sworn to serve. Yes, people don’t like change so they protest, rally, and throw up road blocks to success.

Take the wind farms for example. We all want cleaner and more affordable energy, but not in our back yard. Look at the solar panels. I personally don’t like their appearance affixed to the rooftops, but I approve of their potential cost savings and the cleaner energy they promote. And what about the overabundance of school districts in our county? The superintendents brag about how much money they get from the state, and our tax dollars. Most people agree there are too many school districts, but they don’t want the one their kids attend to be touched; it is time to consolidate these districts folks!

We, the people, owe it to ourselves, our children, our communities to step up to the plate and help to make some of those promises of economic growth and a regeneration of jobs in our localities come true. Complaining and blaming others isn’t the answer. Working together is the only way out of the mess that this country is in, and it starts at the local level. Sandra Cisneros, novelist, poet and writer once wrote, “The older I get, the more I’m conscious of ways very small things can make a change in the world. Tiny little things, but the world is made up of tiny matters, isn’t it?” Let us remember that in the broader scheme of things, our little corner or the world, while it may seem large to us, is not that big.

If we listened to and believe what the President said last evening, then this country can see prosperity again. We will see jobs return to our shores, our state and the county of Chautauqua and city of Dunkirk. But it will take work on all fronts, it will take more than pretty words and it will take a lot of elbow grease; it will take each and every one of us working our way through the forest one tree at a time and dealing with the “tiny” things.

I want to believe in President Trump, he is our president after all. I do believe in our county executive and our mayor, but I also am not so naive to believe that they can do all they say they can, and I know they can’t do it alone regardless of what they promise.

When it comes to promises …

… Sometimes even Angels weep, for promises made which they can’t keep…

Have a great day.

Vicki Westling is a Dunkirk resident. Send comments to editorial@observertoday.com

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