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Are we Still “America’s Hometown”?

Conni DiLego gives an emphatic answer.

I’ve had the opportunity to spend many hours in the company of my Plymouth community in the past few weeks and I have one thing to say about it: I’m impressed.

To begin with, I was fortunate enough to work the phones at the recent telethon produced by PACTV for our Japanese sister-city after its terrible earthquake and tsunami.

The entire evening was filled with humble compassion from everyone who was either present at the event, called in, or watched from a comfortable chair in their living room. Everyone who participated in any way sent loving, healing thoughts and prayers to their sisters and brothers in a land most of us have never been to. The deep intention of each person was clearly dedicated to a communal cause: to provide relief in any way from the terrible suffering.

There was no evidence of ego or hierarchy. Everyone worked in unison, dedicated to the moment and the effort. It was not a time for anyone to shine, the light was bright enough with the whole and it was all very, very Zen. It was a complicated dance, with intricate ensemble steps, choreographed like a Bob Fosse showstopper, and each person was as necessary and complimentary as the next. Each person there felt an urgency, an insatiable need to take action, to do SOMETHING. I was so proud to be there.

Three weeks ago was the Town Meeting. Admittedly, perhaps not as awe-inspiring as the former event, and assuredly not as filled with pathos, but I was also proud to be present at Plymouth North High School during that meeting. It was an exercise I was honored to share with town and state officials, town members, fellow town workers and everyone watching live on PACTV. (Another round of applause for PACTV, its staff and its volunteers)

Often we, or at least I, forget the origins of our governmental process. It’s easy to dismiss or even sneer at it, especially when it seems to run a bit dysfunctional. However, attending a town meeting refreshes one’s memory of the basic concept of government by the people, of the people and for the people. It is a place where issues are brought for a vote, where people have the freedom to discuss, argue, plead, demonstrate and rally for their opinions as to how the vote should be determined. It is a fair process when the public cares enough to be concerned, when it pays attention, when it participates. This is the latch, which opens the door to our rights, to our state and ultimately our country’s governance. It should never be taken lightly.

I love my community. I am proud of my community. It has shone its truest colors lately and bears the right to boast itself as “America’s Hometown.”

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