News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Opinion

February 15, 2006

Pete Chalos: Lack of opportunity raises concerns for future

Over the years, I have been invited to speak to numerous service groups, church groups and political organizations within the community of Terre Haute. After sharing a few of my own thoughts and ideas, I always take the opportunity to answer questions from the crowd. I look forward to these question and answer sessions. In fact, it’s my favorite part of the meeting.

I like hearing what friends and neighbors have on their minds and I like sharing ideas with them on subjects they feel strongly about. Often, a question or a comment from the crowd will spark a meaningful dialogue or allow me to address a subject that I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to address otherwise.

Politics is the art of listening to the concerns of your friends and neighbors and finding a way to create better conditions for them. The way to tell if a politician or public servant is interested in more than his own advancement is to watch closely his interactions with others in the community. Does he like it when people ask him questions? Does he address concerns from the old and the young? Does he visit groups that aren’t promising him campaign funds or support? Is he involved?

My most recent opportunity to speak was to a senior citizen group at Maplewood Christian Church. Seniors have a unique perspective when it comes to seeing the big picture. Having lived long enough to see a number of changes, and get a sense of the direction our country is heading in, they can often anticipate coming storms.

Listening to the concerns and questions of our seniors is a good way for this younger generation to prevent future storms from catching them unprepared. Those who forget their history are doomed to repeat it. Those who ignore their elders are ignoring the testimony of eyewitnesses to that history.

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