Democracy begins with the economy

Re: The real problem is a leadership gap, by Kushalrani Gulab, Dec. 6. The anger expressed by the author in this reprinted article is understandable but could just as easily been written by a frustrated U.S. citizen.

Now that this historic election is over, there seems to be a pervasive optimism that transformed political organizers and millions of volunteers will bring democracy back to the people _ encouraging elected officials from the top down to do the right thing; punishing elected officials for doing the wrong thing. What is wrong with this picture?

Basically, there is an assumption that our democracy consists of an infrastructure of democratic institutions emanating from the local level and extending through regional, interstate, and federal levels of operation. But this is not the case. As stated more thoroughly in my book "The Concept of Community," (IPOC Press 2008), there is a direct correlation between politics and economy.

Political structures, systems and processes are not formed through some collective goodwill, sense of tradition, wishful thinking, eloquent expressions of our best instincts, and certainly not solely through periodic voting. Our political infrastructure is a direct derivation of our economic systems.

To the extent we have local economy, we have local community and some relative degree of local political power. To the extent economy is centralized and aggregated under the control of a small minority, we have concentrated political power.

In order to really see systemic political change, there must be a systemic change in our economic system. Such a change would value and therefore officially encourage local economy.

Such a change would see a more-equitable distribution of opportunity and wealth and a systemic return to the possibility of democracy in a true sense of the word (from the Greek "" demos: people; kratos: power).

Harold DeRienzo

New Berlin

Firefighters kept loss to a minimum

Thank you, firefighters of Franklin, Otego and Treadwell. For those not in the know, a raging fire enveloped my neighbor's garage Nov. 30 here in Franklin. We heard an explosion, I looked out our window and thought my garage was on fire, with flames reaching to the sky. I ran down the stairs and went outside and realized it was my neighbor's garage that was on fire.

Within six to seven minutes after the first explosion, we had the best hometown firefighters on the scene. First, our brave guys from Franklin, then Treadwell and Otego. If it were not for their professional and speedy action, I am certain my garage would have gone up in smoke as well.

I feel sorry for my neighbor, but we are all thankful and grateful to the men and women who volunteer and risk their lives every day to keep us safe from fire. Without them our risk and loss would have been much greater indeed. Like our military today, our firefighters represent the best our country has to offer because of their devotion, courage and selfless service.

We all could learn from their example. Thank you, firefighters.

Nicholas J. Ciccarello


Cooperstown should mind own business

What right does Cooperstown have to interfere with other political entities? (I raised a question on its fighting wind power outside its own jurisdiction!)

What happened to the idea in this country that decisions should be made by the folks governed and living in their specific segment of the universe? If they want to protect their way of life, outsiders have no business to dictate opposition.

If Cooperstown thinks the MSGE is so wonderful, why not book it in their own territory?

Elsie Schiffner


Inaugural hats

It has long been known that if the President-elect wears a hat to his inauguration, sales of men's hats soar.

JFK failed to wear a hat; sales of men's hats crashed, creating a lot of mad hatters. It will be interesting to see what will happen if President-elect Obama wears a turban to his inauguration.

Donald J. Haarmann

East Meredith

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