Blabbermouths Wanted!

By Edwin Crayton/Opinion

Are you someone who can’t seem to keep your big mouth shut? Are you a person who just can’t keep a secret? Do you tend to blab every piece of news to everyone you know?  Are you the type of person who could hear a bit of news on Front Street in Natchitoches and 15 minutes later spread it all the way to Fleet Street in London? You are? Then boy do we have a job for you! That’s because the people of Natchitoches need people to spread the news about important political decisions which are about to be made, but that the public knows very little about.

You see, the problem is Natchitoches is the type of town where many people don’t pay attention to politics.  Many council meetings and civic or community meetings are often poorly attended.( In other words, it’s just like the rest of the U.S.)  Unfortunately, this can be used against the people who live here and more often than not, it is. If you are a slick power broker, or greasy politician this is the best kind of place to slip one past the people and make some coin for yourself and your cronies.  That is because you don’t have to worry about public outcry, if the public is usually in the dark about events that affect them.  However, on the other hand, if you really care about fairness, love your community and realize that uninformed people really pay for being out of the loop, it helps to have people who can  get the word out to the people, alerting them to what is going on and how it can affect their lives.  But if you’re a slick operator who is trying to pull the wool over the public’s eyes, you don’t want that kind of public awareness, now do you? Because you also know that when people know what the powerful are planning to do, they can then react in time to weigh in and either approve or deny the planned action.  Usually people do this by voting yes or no on some proposal. 

But they have to be told what’s up first. That is where you glorious blabbermouths come in real handy.  While usually, most people can’t stand your tendency to spread every secret all over town, in this case, it is almost patriotic when you inform the uninformed public, especially when they’re about to be taken to the cleaners by slick, politicians or other hustlers. History shows that spreading information makes a real difference. It’s why one fateful night in 1775, Paul Revere rode fast as he could to alert the public that the British were coming. It’s why young college aged men and women endured danger and even death to register poor, uniformed black rural voters about their voting rights in the 1960s.  Both revolutions ended in victory: The Revolutionary War gave birth to America. The Civil Rights Voter Registration Drives opened up the political process for all Americans and integrated the nation’s local, state and federal governments.

Locally, there are a couple of cases in which this is playing out right now.  The first is the Parish Council’s “Rededication” plan which is designed to slash the budget of the Natchitoches Parish Library in half practically.  The council oversees library funds which are based around something called millage.  The council wants to use the money from these cuts to work on parish roads. Sure, it’s good to work on roads, but not at the expense of the library. In fact, the consequences will be devastating to the library system in Natchitoches.  The main library will have to make drastic cuts. This means the services will be cut. So, will the data resources and technology.  Bookmobile services to students and to rural residents will be cut back too. The staff —and it’s a talented one—-will be cut. Worse of all the library says the practically new library branch in Campti will even be forced to close. When people hear about this, many ask, “Why do we have to hurt the library to fix the roads?” Excellent question. When you find out, would you please tell me? By the way, you probably won’t understand most of the wording on the ballot. When you see these three words: millage, rededication and library, vote no. One more thing: don’t confuse this with a vote on whether or not to continue ambulance service at the hospital. That is something that deserves a yes vote. Read the propositions closely.

Mr. and Mrs. Blabbermouth, there’s one more situation that the public needs to be made aware of. It is the fact that a community organization called the Natchitoches Community Improvement Foundation, which is supposed to distribute 2 million dollars to the people of Natchitoches, is being run by a chairman, a treasurer, a secretary and a board member who are all two years over their term limits.  They are supposed to have elections, but they haven’t done it. They are also supposed to have an audit. But they have not done that either.  This matters to you personally if you live in Natchitoches, because those funds are designated for the people of Natchitoches.  The foundation does this by giving grants and scholarships. But it’s not very democratic. At their meetings, the public has very little input in decisions. In fact, they are not allowed to comment at all until after the decisions have been made. And remember, like I just said, four of the people who do a lot of the talking and decision making are two years over their term limits. They should not even be on the board—and yet, they’re giving away thousands of dollars of the public’s money. Your money. The public is in the dark, mostly because the meetings are not very well advertised.  That’s why we need as many blabbermouths as possible to get the word out so people can become involved.

So, please help the people of Natchitoches by spreading the word about both of these important situations which people really need to know about but do not.  Use your skills to tell your friends, family, community members and anyone who will listen.

There’s the news. If you happened to be one of those people who if I were to tell you something, it will be all over town in about 10 minutes. And you’re going to spread this too. If you’re a big mouth who can’t keep a secret and are going to tell this to everyone you see, I have one thing to say to a loud, talkative, blabber mouth like you: Thanks.

“The advancement and diffusion of knowledge is the only guardian of true liberty.” – James Madison, 4th U.S. President

“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” – John 8:32, The Holy Bible