Editorial: Democracy prevails

Editorial: Democracy prevails

Pixabay photo

Democracies don’t exist for their statutes or procedures or rules. They are given life by, and exist to serve, the people.

Representative government can only function if citizens direct their elected officials toward representative policy ends. This process worked to perfection Monday night, April 3, when the Village of Port Jefferson Board of Trustees voted 5-0 to rescind a resolution to extend terms of service for village officials — reversing a unanimous decision rendered just two weeks earlier.

We regard this outcome as a victory for the people and the board, a reflection of the dynamic interplay between public officials and their constituents. We congratulate Port Jeff citizens and representatives alike for this democratic response.

Monday meant more than a simple reversal of posture. Residents turned out in force, filling the boardroom and demonstrating their interest and engagement in the local decision-making process.

Leaders of the newly reformed Port Jefferson Civic Association made formal contact with their village officials, introducing themselves and expressing their community aims. We view this as a decisive first step toward active collaboration between the local governing body and its civic.

But the board itself deserves immense credit for its leadership and accountability over a delicate policy matter. We are all fallible creatures, prone to occasional lapses in judgment and error.

It takes a greater sense of self-knowledge and courage to publicly admit fault and correct a mistake. We thank the board for upholding the foundational principle that the power of government is derived from the consent of the governed.    

The work in this village is still unfinished. It isn’t enough to show up once amid the height of the storm. Another tempest is always brewing, and today’s calmer seas will be tomorrow’s surging tides.

Democracy requires persistent effort and engagement from residents. It demands citizens be present at all village board meetings, for they are the drivers of this system.

Still, the board’s action Monday validated the democratic principle. It illustrates that the light of liberty and conscience can and will prevail in this village. For this moment, may we all rejoice at the simple splendor of local democracy done right