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Silent Majority Is the Key

I suspect Mayor Glenn Elliott is right: There are three types of people in Wheeling, as he explained in his State of the City address last Tuesday. It isn’t difficult to see that.

What is more of a challenge, however, is knowing how many people fit into each of the three categories — and what sub-classes there are in the middle group.

First, though, we need to take care of some other business: Thanks, mayor. Your inclusion in the speech of a report on where three major initiatives stand was illuminating and appreciated.

So was the bulk of the address, for that matter. Much of it was devoted to recognizing and honoring people who have done good things for the community — and that’s important. It also is a lot of work, for which Elliott himself deserves praise.

Now, back to the three groups. I’ll summarize how Elliott described them:

Group 1 is “those who believe our city’s best days came decades ago and our efforts today amount to little more than reshuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic.” They never tire of complaining but dislike “the notion of their city government spending their tax dollars to try to fix any of it.”

Group 2 is “those who downplay these various challenges and see Wheeling’s best days as yet to come.” They point out there has been progress in the city.

Group 3 is most people, who “fall somewhere between these two ends of the spectrum.”

I’m glad the mayor recognizes that. What a shame most of the politicians on the national stage don’t understand the categories fit our nation as a whole.

But here’s the thing: Group 3 represents the silent majority, not necessarily in the same way the late Richard Nixon used the term.

Most Group 3 members believe Wheeling can be better and are eager for initiatives to make it so — even if tax dollars are used — as long as they believe the money is being used frugally and effectively. That’s the key.

At times, that may make these people seem to be members of Group 1, but they emphatically are not. They simply want results, not political correctness or chasing fads. Wheeling can’t afford to do that, they believe.

Most of them shun social media like the plague, meaning that what they believe are meaningful, moderate views are ignored in favor of listening to the loudest voices.

Elliott talked Tuesday about building consensus. There is a “total absence thereof,” he remarked.

I don’t think so. Finding it may not always be pleasant — but the only way to do so is to ignore the loudest voices from Groups 1 and 2 — and find a way to hear the silent majority.

Myer can be reached at: mmyer@theintelligencer.net.

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