While the Trustee’s Office does not close on Columbus Day, we still recognize that 2017 is the 525th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s arrival in the Americas on October 12 (officially celebrated on October 9th this year, the second Monday of the month). I remember being taught as a youngster that 1492 was an important date for the United States, and I heard a lot about the courage and bravery of Columbus and his sailors who arrived on these shores in three ships; the Niña, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria.
I think of Columbus as a great adventurer, but I also know that this holiday can be controversial. Many people think it is wrong to celebrate the coming to America of people who wiped out the way of life of the Native Americans who were already here. I see what they are saying, but I also think that we should be careful in judging the actions of the people in the past by our own current standards.
This is also my thinking about the current controversies over the removal of Confederate monuments erected to remember people who fought to preserve a certain way of life. Yes, I know that some of those monuments were built to protest the new-found freedom of African-Americans from their bonds of slavery, and that sentiment is regrettable. But I also understand some of those other feelings—the sadness over the loss of history and the wish that things could just remain the same.
There must be a balance there somewhere, where the thoughts and feelings of all citizens can be taken into account. That’s where education comes into play. Once again, I am convinced that education—knowing our history and our culture—is key to coming down on the best side of so many of our current events. For example, right here in Waynedale, the Chief Richardville House is a monument that preserves the memory of one Native American who prospered not only among the Miami people but in the European-American culture and economy as well.
On another controversial topic, Indiana Michigan Power’ proposal for a nearly 20 percent rate hike will get a public hearing on October 10, 2017, and I plan to be there. This is important to me not only as a consumer but as the head of an agency charged with helping people stay in their homes and keep the lights on. A twenty percent rate hike without an increase in the township’s revenue means that we can’t help as many people on the lower end of the income ladder. The poorest will get the help—it’s those nearer to the middle, in other words the working poor, who will suffer the most. I plan to be at that hearing, at 5:45 p.m. October 10 in Ballroom A of the Grand Wayne Convention Center. I hope you come, too, for the sake of your own electric bill, if not for the sake of others.
Latest posts by Richard A. Stevenson - Wayne Township Trustee (see all)
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