Mason County News
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I Have Learned, You're Never Too Old to Learn
Wednesday, September 21, 2011 • Posted September 21, 2011

The last couple of months have been an interesting time for me, and for many others in our community. The axiom states that "You can't teach an old dog new tricks," ; but, personally, I've begun to feel that, given enough patience, even the oldest dogs can learn a few things.Every day of every week, I attend any number of meetings around the area. I sit and I listen to reports, to concerns, to suggestions. I hear about roads and septic systems and trash collection and budgets. In the process, people present evidence and supporting materials to bolster their case, and I learn more about all of the issues being considered.Additionally, when I get back to the office, I start doing research to find out about issues that might not have been covered during all the discussions. The internet, while a wonderful resource for research, has to be approached with caution and evidence sifted through with a discerning eye. It takes seasoned practice to separate the wheat from the chaff, and sometimes the two look very similar.There are times that I take my dog and head outside for a quick walk, a method I have for clearing my head and organizing my thoughts. Even after such a stroll, I still sometimes return to my office feeling that my head is filled to overflowing with far too many bits of data, and I feel as if I'm swimming in fast-flowing waters with little ability to keep my head above the waves.As my neighbors and I have gone through our process of discovery for the last few weeks researching sand mining, I have experienced more than one dizzy spell. Combined with all the daily flood of information and data that I deal with, I sometimes feel more like a whirling dervish when it comes to my mental acuity.So, is it true that old dogs can't learn now tricks? No, not at all.What I've learned, on almost a daily basis, is that our local governmental entities are truly trying to find a way to serve the citizens of Mason and Mason County. I've learned that, once you move beyond the boundaries of the county and have to start dealing with governmental bodies that serve across such territorial lines, the desire and ability to serve constituents is reduced considerably. I've learned that assuming the systems that are in place to protect us would be an erroneous conclusion.I've read for years about how overbearing many of the regulatory agencies are, and how they stifle business and deter innovation. What I've actually learned is that those same agencies will make the lives of individual constituents and private citizens as unbearable as possible in the execution of their regulatory authority. However, those big businesses and corporations that have made such a show of complaining about those agencies actually have less oversight and less punitive repercussions than we private citizens. It would appear that many of the rules, like the intricate phrasings of the tax code, can be circumvented if you have enough money and enough influence to receive a "pass."I've usually considered myself a conservative in matters of government intervention into our lives. I, like most others, made the assumption that there were already so many rules out there, nothing could be gained by adding yet more. But, then I found that not everyone has to play by the same rules. The very groups that are supposed to anticipate problems and intervene on my behalf place the burden of proof upon the people they are charged with protecting, while offering support and encouragement to the very parties they are supposed to be watching.I've also learned that our friends and neighbors are the most important asset we have, no matter the battles we enter. All of them have knowledge and opinions that, when working together, can provide a powerful force in getting things done. I have no idea where these jousts at windmills will take us; but, I am proud to say that I have more respect and more admiration for the fine simple folks who surround me than I've ever had before in my life. I salute all of you for your work.

It’s all just my opinion.

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