By Alan Farley
In the Alabama House of Representatives there are 105 different districts represented. When there is a vote, there are a total of 105 votes that can be cast. Each elected member of the House has one vote. As you press the button at your desk everyone can look up at one of three electronic boards and see how each member voted. The totals are shown. In less than one minute each House member has spoken for approximately 45,000 district constituents with one push of a button. The “Voice of the People” is reduced to pushing a button on a desk. People’s lives are changed. Do we really understand, or has technology allowed us to become dangerously disconnected?
In the Bible, the book of numbers has a story about 12 leaders who represented the 12 families of Israel. Only 2 of the twelve lived through the next 40 years to walk on the promised land of God. Joshua and Caleb understood the future, because they had learned from the past. They truly understood ONE. They also understood “staying connected”!!!
Our Jefferson County Commission, and Legislative Delegation, often times struggle with one. And, yes, I have my personal opinion on this issue. My opinion is based on listening to my elected colleagues, and myself, talk about OUR part of the county. I am convinced that Jefferson County doesn’t have communities. We have kingdoms. We have 35 cities or towns. Then there is unincorporated Jefferson County. All of these communities have some structure of elected leadership. Mayors, Councils, or Commissions. And then you throw in the State Legislative delegation. Who goes first? Who speaks first? Who decides? Does Mulga have greater needs than Vestavia Hills? Is there more tax dollars being collected in Mountain Brook, or McCalla? Does the Birmingham City Council have more authority than the Jefferson County Commission? Is there a oneness that is not singular? Not at the present time. But, there can be.
As we celebrated our nation’s independence last week I was struck by the collective oneness. We became one because of the distance from the present. We could all sing “America the Beautiful” when thinking of 1776, but we separate into groups when we start thinking of 1966. I find hope in the history of our nation. Not as individual groups of people or communities. But, a collective oneness. The “One Nation under God, INDIVISABLE, With Liberty and Justice for ALL” was brought together because of a burning desire for religious freedom. I am convinced our Faith Communities can do it again. Just like singing the old church hymns, everyone has a part. When we start singing praise songs in HARMONY we will all enjoy the results, and it will not matter who has an occasional solo. I call on our Faith Leaders to put a Jefferson County “Voice of the People” together that will be heard around the world.
“But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.” (Matthew 19:30)