Letter to the Editor: Disengaged in the democratic process? How’s that working for you?


accesories-text-editor-hiI’ve been thinking about our democracy, free speech and the power of a vote as I await Thursday’s meeting of the Somervell County Hospital Board with its agenda to fire the hospital’s CEO, Mr. Ray Reynolds. Why would anyone on the board want to do this? There’s no logical, factual or valid reason that I know of. Mr. Reynolds is an excellent administrator.

You might have learned this for yourself if you attended those meetings. I’ve heard that the meeting will be held in closed session, I assume, because the public outcry against this agenda item has been so intense. I will attend even if I have to sit in the parking lot.

It’s no secret that I believe four of our seven board members are unqualified to serve on this board or make decisions for our hospital. I formed my opinion about these members by following the agendas, attending the meetings and observing with a critical eye and mind the performance of all the board and the hospital administration. This experience has reminded me that being disengaged in the conversation and the process is a recipe for disaster. We are witnessing just such a disaster unfolding in our community right now.

Democracy is not some tangible thing I can put in my pocket and keep safe forever. It’s vulnerable like a child or pet or plant that requires constant attention, nourishment and protection. It’s also the foundation of our country and will always be under siege. This means that all of us must do the work to stay informed of the facts and engage in critical thinking before making judgements on issues and candidates when we vote. It also means that all registered voters must participate in the process, not just a few. Yes, I know, you’re so busy. So am I. But taking responsibility is the price that every American must pay to keep democracy alive. If we don’t, we’re doomed.

With the internet in our lives, misinformation abounds these days. Accusations, insinuations and opinions presented as facts are a cheap, easily produced commodity that spreads like wildfire, particularly among those who don’t really know what’s going on and are not paying attention. Defending false allegations or offering intelligent, reasoned argument can be difficult to impossible when only one person in the conversation has control of the delete button.

So don’t just base your opinions on letters to the editor, an article or someone’s blog site. Make inquiries, go to meetings, get the facts and form your own conclusions. And don’t just take my word for anything either. For all you know, I might be one of those misinformed people working overtime to keep you misinformed, too.

Suzanne Gentling


2 Responses to Letter to the Editor: Disengaged in the democratic process? How’s that working for you?

  1. Joan Taylor Reply

    January 21, 2015 at 3:17 pm

    I think Ms Gentling expresses the thoughts and feelings of many of us who live, work, and play in Somervell County. It is imperative that our citizens attend these meetings in order to see for themselves the full spectrum of ignorance that has been displayed by those four board members who have absolutely no expertise in the field of operating and supplying a medical facility. From what I have seen they have little experience in anything of value to the community. Their agenda seems to be only to tear down what our taxes have provided. They are making a mockery out of their service to the board, the citizens who cast their votes for them and the peoples who use our medical facility. I am ashamed of their behavior and I take offense to their remarks and their ignorance. I am saddened by the public’s lack of interest.

    Unless we stand together and support our hospital and it’s administration, we will certainly fail/lose our right to speak out when this is over.

    One thing I really wonder about is which one of them has plans to become the administrator? Has anyone heard who plans to take Mr. Reynolds place and has anyone heard who else they might decide needs to be relieved of their job?

    Joan Taylor


    January 21, 2015 at 9:02 am

    Excellent commentary of the fiasco before us. For someone to keep repeating a lie doesn’t make it so, no matter how many times it is spoken.

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