Several weeks ago the Citizens of Great Bend united to take up a common cause. This union was created to see to the fair treatment and reinstatement of our Chief, and request transparency and honesty from our government. Pride runs deep in this group. Not the kind of arrogant pride that’s been presumed, but a true beaming love for our city.
As a group of citizens crossed party lines to come together and informally serve their community some harsh accusations have been made. As these citizens have strived for truth, due process and followed policies and procedures through hard work, a passion for their community and the love of the people of Great Bend, a few bad apples have seemed to spoil the whole bunch, at least speculatively. I’ve heard from a few people that council members and city employees have been harassed and threatened.
I can’t tell you how heartbroken I am to hear these allegations. I was recently approached with the comment that “the blue shirts” are behind this alleged harassment. I myself have seen cold hearted comments on Facebook. Tears welled up in my eyes as I mourned the loss of Sunny our elderly tiger. Not only for our community but for the dedicated zoo staff who lost a beloved and longtime resident of the zoo. The comments regarding the death of Sunny connected with snide comments about our current political situation were disrespectful and quite frankly, disgusting.
I’ve heard that bullying and derogatory comments have been made about our city administrator. I don’t have an explanation for this and the reason I don’t is because it’s not in my heart to be malicious and flippant. I must ask you to distinguish between those “blue shirts” who love this community and those who love to stir the pot. Malice is not a “blue shirt” issue, it’s a heart issue.
I am proud of the citizens of Great Bend. At a time when many of us feel so passionate about an issue, people got involved, called their council members, peacefully painted and posted signs, held a prayer meeting to ask our God to work in our city, lifting up not only Chief Couch and his family but each member of City Council, the Mayor, Administrator and city employees. There has been involvement in local policy like never before and that makes me excited.
There are worse things than having people care about what happens to their city. A community can only grow stronger and more prosperous the more its citizens engage in local government, organizations, churches, schools and volunteer opportunities. For those who are “getting involved” by using intimidation, foul language, and other illicit behavior all I can do is pray for those bullies.
There are many “blue shirt” people who just love their Chief and community so much that it pains them to see it not reach its full potential. People who are begging, pleading for their council members to give them what they are asking for. Those who are doing this with malice- they aren’t on the “blue shirt” team. The “blue shirt” team has publicly plead for these few rogue persons to stop immediately. However, we can’t mistake taking a stand for harassment. As we sort through this, let us not villainize the citizens who are peacefully, appropriately and admirably asking for the truth and respect we are due from our government. Through listening, respect and a commitment to what is right we can positively impact our community and make a very real difference in our world.