In this file photo from early 2011

How far is Tahrir Square from Grizzly Plaza?

An interesting article published Sept. 3 by The Atlantic associate editor Rebecca J. Rosen tracks journalistic efforts to check if social media was as instrumental in the Arab Spring uprisings as was initially reported.

Revue, By Revelstoke Times Review editor Aaron Orlando

An interesting article published Sept. 3 by The Atlantic associate editor Rebecca J. Rosen tracks journalistic efforts to check if social media was as instrumental in the Arab Spring uprisings as was initially reported.

The conclusion? They were instrumental in fomenting dissent and disseminating evidence of state atrocities, and they were also key in the logistical execution of protests. However, in the end, it was people taking to the streets that ultimately led to the demise of the Tunisian and Egyptian regimes.

A little far from Revelstoke, Aaron? Maybe, maybe not.

Some of the commentators in last week’s online P&T sign debate certainly positioned themselves as battling an autocratic and out-of-touch regime that was acting as a hindrance to a free and unfettered existence here in Revelstoke.

While that may be a bit of stretch, the fact that the online crowd has positioned themselves as such demands a response. But will it be forthcoming?

Here in the west, especially in North America, we’ve been bombarded by corrosive, anti-democratic media brainwashing since the Reagan era that told us that governments were bad, out-of-touch, overspending fossils that needed to be pruned back to just above the soil. Although their motivations were almost polar opposites, this message almost seamlessly dovetailed with the counter-culture movements of the ‘60s and ‘70s that sought to buck the yoke of the ‘father-knows-best’ ethos of the post-war years.

The result is the tragically-pervasive attitude that government sucks, politicians are liars, and forget it all, there’s nothing that can be done. By taking this attitude towards government, and especially local government, you are playing into the hands of much more nefarious powers than your minimum-wage-earning Revelstoke city councillors. These outside interests may not line up with yours, and the less you have to say and the less ability you have to act cohesively, the better for them.

Now, good on people for supporting the sign. Good on you for finally speaking out. Great for supporting the Facebook page. Now, when are you going to take to the streets?

I suggest the Nov. 19 election. Of course, organizing for that starts now. Unlike dictatorships abroad, we have the ability to remake our community. You could be council come December, or at least walk the streets door-to-door in support of someone who wants to do the job.

***

What is city council? How is it different from city hall? Which ones do we vote for and which ones are paid staff? How does a bylaw work? Who makes them? Who enforces them? What role does council play? Many seem unclear on these basic concepts of local government. Whose job is it to communicate that?

The current council has largely opted to avoid communicating with the public directly. Coun. Antoinette Halberstadt was the only councillor to wade into the sign debate on www.revelstoketimesreview.com. Her lengthy comments sought to address many of the issues raised, and largely stemmed the outpouring of anti-council sentiment by injecting some context into the debate.

I am suggesting here that this new public social media involvement will become the new norm, like it or not.

***

As I stood outside of Malone’s on Mackenzie waiting for my friend who was shopping inside, I noticed a new sign saying unattended dogs were prohibited. It seems city hall has significantly shifted their bylaw enforcement policies on many fronts in the past two years, but there hasn’t been a corresponding effort to communicate what is going on. What is going on?

 

 

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