Ahmad Esfahani: Democratic lagging

Published: 05-09-2024 5:04 PM

Who should be making the decisions? Take a few hours out of your week and observe a local committee or board, and you may quickly see how the ball of accountability rolls downhill. In an age of liability and risk aversion, decision-makers have become a luxury item.

“Well, how do you feel about it?” is what you’ll hear whenever an issue reaches its breaking point. Speak ill of democracy and you’ll find yourself tarred and feathered. Point out the expedience of top-down leadership, and “patriarchy” will be screamed down from the ramparts.

Liability or lie-ability? The smell of fear is ripe, but what will it taste like once plucked? Western Massachusetts, no longer a haven for those seeking to test their measure against nature’s hardships, has evolved into a land only navigable by speculators and short-term renters. The housing crisis can be understood easily once you look through the weeds of local ordinances.

“Hey, I worked hard and I need my second home” may sound fashionable at brunch, but quickly becomes evil when one looks at those whose bed is the city street. Rationalized greed is greed nonetheless.

Has American democracy failed? Honestly, who could even tell? When mayors require attorneys at hand to answer questions, and when school boards collectively shrug shoulders and look at designated counsel, and when every question asked of our city councils and selectboards is met with “We have to ask our attorney,” democracy has likely morphed into something only for the elite.

Ahmad Esfahani

Greenfield

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