Thorsby gets government right

Published 8:11 pm Monday, January 26, 2009

According to the academic types, one of the benefits of a federal system of government is that lower, or local, levels of government can serve as testing grounds for the national government.

We can only hope President Barack Obama and the other string pullers in Washington will catch wind of what was going on in Thorsby on Jan. 22. That’s when town officials met with several randomly selected residents—while everyone was enjoying a “brown bag” lunch—to discuss concerns about everything from crime to garbage cans.

Mayor Dearl Hilyer told The Clanton Advertiser that the meeting was productive, but we all know better than to expect Obama or Nancy Pelosi to ask us to the Capitol for a turkey sandwich anytime soon. It’s understandable: Our leaders are busy people, there would be security concerns and there are too many people that would want to speak their mind for this to be plausible at the national level.

But we can dream, right? We can wish we had the opportunity to tell our administration, face-to-face, what we think about this policy or why we’re concerned about that issue.

Thorsby’s innovation is made even more impressive because of the thriftiness it encouraged. The meeting wasn’t held in the banquet room of an expensive restaurant, and no one was dining on filet mignon. Instead, town officials opted for Helen Jenkins Chapel, where no reservation fee is required, and brought-from-home lunches were the order of the day. With that kind of attitude in Washington, we might not be trying to forget about the $10 trillion-plus national debt.