Archived Opinion

A year of opportunity

By Carl Iobst • Guest Columnist

2008 was an interesting year. Not the worst on record, but tough enough. 2009 presents us with some unique challenging opportunities that have never been seen before — sort of a test of our ‘Americanness.’

Considering all the recent political shouting and posturing about “change we can believe in” and “country first,” how much can we really expect from our elected and appointed officials? Not as much as you might believe. Ultimately, without you and I doing the heavy lifting nothing — except higher taxes and less freedoms — is going to change.

All change is from the bottom up. We have to change our thinking and our actions. This is a cultural paradigm shift. We have to change the behaviors of those in government who are supposed to carry out our demands for “a more perfect union.” Remember, they’re accountable to us.

All change is local. I’m going to hit you between the eyes with a startling fact and you can accept it or not — true lasting, effective, and meaningful change can only happen when it comes from you and me. Anything else is just a fad, a mirage. That’s right. If we don’t make it happen, it is not going to happen.

True change starts here in Jackson County. And you and I will make it happen. Everyone wants open, honest government. Everyone wants clean air and water and enough elbow room to raise our children in. After all, we live in the country not the city. It is stupid and destructive to build cities on mountains. Can you say landslide?

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Real change is happening now. Right now, groups of people are banding together in Jackson County to fight the developer-destroyers and other fads that could turn Jackson County into an unlivable wasteland. What you do this day, this year matters. You count. This is your chance to clean up our air and water and to protect our land. We can make democratic and social justice a reality here in our home — the valley of the Tuckasegee.

Join us.

Iobst is secretary of the Jackson County Citizen Action Group (, P.O. Box 2212, Sylva, N.C., 29779.)

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