Public has responsibility to engage with government

The current Minot City Council and city administration have often cited desire for more and better communication with residents. The idea is both to exhibit transparency and ostensibly to seek more public input.

Depending upon whom is asked, they are either doing a good job or a less than stellar job.

Yet the effort is obvious. The city website is chock-full of information, the city has a committee dedicated to discussing new and better ways to communicate, the city dutifully posts notices of public meetings and the city responsibly communicates efficiently with media.

Still, there remains a disconnect between what the city actually does and the perception of those things. Misinformation and misunderstandings abound. In part this is because of social media postings that some take as gospel but which might contain no truth or include only a sliver of accuracy. In part it is because of gossip – even social media chat and gossip that might seem unlikely but that also reinforces our pre-existing notions.

Whether it’s city, county or state government, the individual should meet halfway and exert the effort to become informed on an issue. When Thomas Jefferson wrote that a well-informed electorate is a prerequisite to democracy, it was an imperative for all of us.

It’s a responsibility we all share.

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