Something amazing has happened since the aquatic referendum: people are talking. After the referendum results were made public people came out of the woodwork to voice their opinions on the Pool for Princeton Facebook page. In an attempt to keep the discussion alive I created another page called Princeton & Area Issues and to my surprise the discussion continued.
There is an active core group of people who not only want to see changes but want ideas on how we can solve the issues facing our community, issues like the doctor shortage, emergency room closures and even housing costs. As many may be sceptical that a group of people venting their frustrations online can make something happen, this is a new group of people, an active group of young families who have more than enough reason to see solutions to issues at hand.
We are seeing online frustrations spill over around the world. At one time most people who sat behind their keyboards did just that, sit behind a keyboard and rant, but those days are coming to an end. We have seen the power of social media to get a common message across to the masses and we have seen movements arise from them. Although this is not Princeton’s Arab Spring movement or Occupy Wall Street, this is a step in the right direction to get people involved in the issues that affect our community.
I will admit I am feeling optimistic. This online movement is not being led by the people who usually lead our fight to save our hospital or those who protest cuts to our social programs. This time it is the new generation of concerned citizens and that has me excited. I am excited because when a group of people no matter how small put their minds to something and are willing to sacrifice their free time to a cause it can and will gain momentum. Our politicians may shy away from tackling the big issues straight on due to reasons that are only known to themselves and their inner circles, but the populace, the electorate, the demos, when en masse can force the politician to listen, and when they fail to do so they can be removed from power by the common people.
The referendum, no matter how people voted, gave a new group of people a platform to share their voice. No matter how you voted on the pool, we have seen that many of our friends and neighbours have the same concerns as we do. We are finding a common ground on issues that before many thought were only issues to their own households. We need to put hard feelings aside and see that there was good that came from the referendum despite of the side of the fence you were on. We need to move forward as a community united to face the serious issues that are at hand. We have a health care crisis in our community with a lack of doctors and emergency room closures. Our community needs a united front so we can find solutions to the issues that affect us all.