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Tuesday, July 16, 2024
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Apathy Can Be Cured

Dear Source:
Apathy. The uncaring attitude of citizens to be involved in the world around them, especially when it has to do with government, can be likened to a disease. We are so involved with our own problems that we sometimes cannot find the inclination to "see the forest for the trees". Apathy breeds even more apathy whenever a person says "it's not up to me". The stark reality is when a person is apathetic toward his or her environment or surroundings, the problems of life always get worst.
When it comes to government, most people feel they have no voice. Nothing could be further from the truth. The government is the people but we must begin to realize that we all have a role, and that we can affect how our government functions. People everywhere complain about government. But therein lays the problem. Complaining and doing something about it are certainly two different things. We can complain all day about how bad our lives are but it solves nothing if we are not willing to take measures to change our surroundings.
The people of the Virgin Islands have a golden opportunity to affect government if they choose to. Complaining is not the answer so they must take an active role in making change happen. The government we all complain about is a functioning, living entity that affects all of us. Often, the way it functions is not exactly what we expected or wanted but it's what we have so we accept it for what it is. That's apathy. Certainly, if we don't like our elected officials we can vote them out but we never really affected anything because the system we call government never changed, unless our elected officials have the courage and conviction to change it. To really affect change, we must closely look at the cause of our complaints and find ways to fix the problems. Right now, as we speak, that is happening.
Our thirty Constitutional delegates are now working to affect change by writing a Constitution. The delegates are citizens of the Virgin Islands who decided to not be apathetic and to vest their time in making our government work better. I can tell you with certainty that they need our help. Input from citizens, especially those who would complain about our government, will go a long way in ensuring that the new Constitution is worded properly. Everyone has ideas about the problems of government. Those ideas should be brought to the forefront by informing the delegates just what they are so that they can incorporate them into the language of the Constitution. The average person can do this if they discard the thought that they cannot make a difference.
In the coming weeks and months, the Constitutional Convention delegates will be asking you for help. I hope that all of us can find time out of our busy lives to think about how we can make our government work better for us. Any thought or tangible idea will be accepted by the delegates. It's entirely possible that something you impart could affect thousands of people. Let's rid ourselves of apathy and start getting involved.

Paul Devine
St. John

Editor's note: We welcome and encourage readers to keep the dialogue going by responding to Source commentary. Letters should be e-mailed with name and place of residence to source@viaccess.net.

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