Carl Parker: Ferguson is a wake-up call

Carl Parker: Ferguson is a wake-up call

Sometimes it seems the national media thrive on promoting conflict. I am getting a little tired of redundant comments on transparency, loss of faith in local government and the right to protest.

I have a suggestion that seems relatively simple to me. If a man were standing beside an adequate shelter during a thunderstorm complaining about getting wet, it seems simple and logical that he would step under the shelter. Equally apparent is the ultimate and absolute best method of protest. If citizens do not trust or have faith in the officials of a community who select the police departments and are responsible for policies related to just and fair law enforcement, the simple remedy is to go to the polls and select someone in whom you do have faith.

It’s been repeatedly reported that Ferguson, Missouri, is made up of 67 percent African Americans. With those kinds of numbers, it seems the elected officials of Ferguson could easily reflect the ethnic makeup of the community. All they need to do is register and vote.

Ferguson should be a wake-up call for us. In the recent selection of our state senator, only a minuscule portion of the electorate chose to participate. I am certain beyond any doubt that before the next legislative session is over, I will hear someone complain about what’s going on in Austin. The recent Port Arthur city election is another bad example of democracy in action. Most members of our City Council were selected by a small minority of voters — or a majority of voters who chose not to participate. Again, I am certain that throughout the coming year, there will be complaints about garbage pickup, the condition of streets, high water bills or a thousand other things from non-voting residents.

Recently someone in Ferguson chose to place portable tables around the community for the purpose of registering people to vote. Seems to me that is the first step in real protest of what is currently taking place within that community. It takes a lot less energy to sign your name registering to vote and traveling to a nearby polling place than it does to stay up half the night marching, yelling and being subjected to tear gas bombing. To say the least, I believe it is also much more productive.

We in Jefferson County and Texas should resolve within ourselves to make a greater effort to participate in self-government. If we don’t, we may find ourselves marching down the street some day and facing our own police forces arrayed in battle gear.