Perception is everything — we’ve all heard that before.
Everyone’s view of the world is different, unique. Each of us view politics, religion and societal constructs through our very own looking glass. No two are the same.
Perception creates our varying opinions and views, making our culture rich and our society strong. We don’t need to all think the same way, have the same preferences or agree all the time. That society would be weak, not to mention a bit boring.
Someone asked me last week if I give much thought to what people think when they read The Blackshear Times.
Yes, I replied. All the time.
Because the way I perceive the news won’t be the way anyone else does and vice versa. It’s interesting to get reader feedback. Oftentimes those comments surprise us with an angle we hadn’t previously considered.
All we can hope to do is provide people with factual information, knowing they’ll draw their own conclusions. That’s really all we’re supposed to do — inform the public.
One thing doesn’t surprise us though. Regardless of how folks interpret the news, they always want to know why.
It’s innate. Even babbling toddlers ask why, over and over again to their parents’ chagrin.
Frustrated parents often reply, “because I said so!” But, that doesn’t satisfy a child’s curiosity for very long.
Adults aren’t much different. Hopefully we don’t babble.
It’s easy to give folks the who, what, when and where of a story, but the why is often hard to dig out. Just look at what’s topping national headlines right now. The latest polls show Americans are split down the middle on whether or not Trump’s impeachment trial should even be happening.
Why? Well, that’s exactly why … the ‘why’ answer is elusive.
Maybe we’ll never know why any of the talking heads in Washington say what they say or do what they do, but here at home, we should expect our locally elected leaders to answer that question.
I wasn’t able to provide Times’ readers with a very good why last week regarding the recent actions of newly-elected Councilwoman Linda Gail Dennison and her supporters on the city council.
I got several “no comment” comments and even an “I plead the fifth” from our local officials.
That shouldn’t be.
Every constituent will have a different perception of the actions their council member takes. Some will agree, others won’t.
They’ll all want to know why.
Don’t be scared to tell them.
Council members, perception really is everything. If you don’t tell your voters why you want to do something, they’ll automatically be suspicious, doubt your motives or the legitimacy of your actions. Tell them why and remove that suspicion.
Will they all agree? No, but perhaps they won’t doubt your integrity either.
• Sarah Tarr Gove is news editor of The Blackshear Times. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.