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“Authentic” – Merriam-Webster Webster’s Word Of The Year and How It Should Apply To City Leadership (Op-Ed)

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Building Stronger Communities through Authenticity in West Chicago 

Opinion Editorial (Op-Ed)

West Chicago, Illinois – In a world that often feels disconnected by constant change and uncertainty, the word “authentic” has risen to prominence, earning its place as Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Year for 2023. This powerful term encapsulates the yearning for genuine connections, the pursuit of truth, and the need for individuals and communities to remain true to themselves amidst adversity.

The selection of “authentic” as the Word of the Year reflects society’s collective desire for honesty, sincerity, and a deeper sense of belonging. It acknowledges that today’s challenges can lead individuals to feel isolated and vulnerable, emphasizing the importance of finding solace in understanding one’s place in a community.

Merriam-Webster’s panel of experts analyzes lexical trends, cultural impacts, and linguistic data to identify the term that resonates most with society at large. After careful consideration, “authentic” emerged as the frontrunner due to its pervasive influence across various sectors, including politics, technology, and social interactions.

To understand why authenticity matters in a small town like West Chicago, it is crucial to recognize the power dynamics inherent in leadership roles. Elected officials and community leaders bear the responsibility of representing their constituents faithfully, advocating for their interests, and fostering an environment where residents feel heard and valued.

Embracing authenticity entails displaying transparency, integrity, and a genuine commitment to the well-being of the community. For the leaders of West Chicago, this means actively engaging with residents, listening attentively to their concerns, and responding authentically with solutions that reflect the diverse needs of the town.

When elected officials prioritize authenticity, they cultivate trust and inspire residents to actively participate in the decision-making process. By embracing open communication channels and creating opportunities for dialogue, leaders can ensure that the voices of all community members are heard, regardless of background.

Authentic leadership also means acknowledging and learning from past mistakes. Reflecting on the previous Word of the Year, “gaslighting” in 2022, it becomes apparent that authenticity stands as its counterbalance. While gaslighting involves manipulative practices that obscure truth and undermine trust, authenticity seeks to reclaim honesty and transparency in relationships.

In West Chicago, elected officials and community leaders must strive to be authentic by addressing mistakes, taking responsibility, and proactively working toward positive change. This commitment to authenticity not only builds trust among residents but also establishes a foundation for a resilient and vibrant community. This is what we elected (or appointed) them to do, is it not?

In the ongoing battle to save the greenhouse, it is disheartening to witness the apparent lack of authenticity and the cold shoulder attitude displayed by members of the city council, mayor and administration. Despite the tireless efforts of the residents involved in the Save The Greenhouse movement, including multiple consecutive city council meetings and gathering over 800 signatures, these officials have shown a disconcerting indifference towards the concerns raised. They have pleaded for oversight continuously, they have contacted their council members- and the city stood by and claimed they would not comment however, when media pressure mounted they took to their own website rather than genuinely attempting to communicate with the Boveys or any of the supporters of the Save the Greenhouse movement. This seems hypocritical and an attempt to avoid honest and authentic discussion with the residents involved.

One glaring example of their inaction is the refusal to engage with Dan and Jody Bovey, the greenhouse’s owners, despite their unending attempts at communication. The Boveys, along with the many supporters of the movement, have been met with apathy and a dismissive attitude from those in power. It is perplexing why the city council and administration seem uninterested in helping, stepping up, or even assisting in any way.

The Mayor’s absolute silence on this matter is particularly confusing-according to city code, he has the power of oversight inherently associated with his office yet will not exercise it – more importantly he refuses to engage with these constituents at all, even after the city has broken its silence. Instead of actively addressing the concerns and engaging in a constructive dialogue with the parties involved, the city has resorted to a one-sided approach. They posted their side of the story and a supposed timeline of events without being open to discussing anything with the affected residents. This standoffish behavior smacks of apathy and a lack of genuine concern for the community’s voice and desires.

In a time when authenticity and transparency are crucial for building a resilient and vibrant community, the actions of our city council and administration are deeply disappointing. Positive change can only be achieved through open communication and understanding, but it appears that our officials are opting for silence unless they maintain control over the narrative. This dismissive attitude not only undermines relationships between elected representatives and their constituents but also erodes the trust and faith of all residents in the community. Whether you agree or disagree with the Save the Greenhouse situation, the dodging of public engagement should be a red flag to all.

It is a hope that the city council and administration will eventually recognize the importance of listening to their constituents and engaging in a meaningful dialogue. The members of the Save The Greenhouse movement deserve to have their concerns heard and considered, and it is the duty of our elected officials to represent the best interests of the community. It is time for the city council and administration to step up, show authenticity, and work towards a solution that preserves the greenhouse and honors the wishes of the residents.

* This is an opinion editorial article. All views expressed are the author’s own opinion and should be considered as such.
This is an anonymous/ protected source opinion article.

Construyendo comunidades más fuertes a través de la autenticidad en West Chicago

Editorial de opinión (artículo de opinión)

West Chicago, Illinois – En un mundo que a menudo se siente desconectado por el cambio constante y la incertidumbre, la palabra “auténtico” ha cobrado importancia y se ha ganado su lugar como Palabra del año 2023 de Merriam-Webster. Este poderoso término resume el anhelo de algo genuino. conexiones, la búsqueda de la verdad y la necesidad de que los individuos y las comunidades permanezcan fieles a sí mismos en medio de la adversidad.

La selección de “auténtico” como palabra del año refleja el deseo colectivo de la sociedad de honestidad, sinceridad y un sentido más profundo de pertenencia. Reconoce que los desafíos actuales pueden llevar a las personas a sentirse aisladas y vulnerables, y enfatiza la importancia de encontrar consuelo en comprender el lugar que uno ocupa en una comunidad.

El panel de expertos de Merriam-Webster analiza tendencias léxicas, impactos culturales y datos lingüísticos para identificar el término que más resuena en la sociedad en general. Después de una cuidadosa consideración, lo “auténtico” surgió como el favorito debido a su influencia generalizada en varios sectores, incluidos la política, la tecnología y las interacciones sociales.

Para comprender por qué la autenticidad es importante en una ciudad pequeña como West Chicago, es crucial reconocer la dinámica de poder inherente a los roles de liderazgo. Los funcionarios electos y los líderes comunitarios tienen la responsabilidad de representar fielmente a sus electores, defender sus intereses y fomentar un ambiente donde los residentes se sientan escuchados y valorados.

Aceptar la autenticidad implica mostrar transparencia, integridad y un compromiso genuino con el bienestar de la comunidad. Para los líderes de West Chicago, esto significa involucrarse activamente con los residentes, escuchar atentamente sus inquietudes y responder auténticamente con soluciones que reflejen las diversas necesidades de la ciudad.

Cuando los funcionarios electos dan prioridad a la autenticidad, cultivan la confianza e inspiran a los residentes a participar activamente en el proceso de toma de decisiones. Al adoptar canales de comunicación abiertos y crear oportunidades para el diálogo, los líderes pueden garantizar que se escuchen las voces de todos los miembros de la comunidad, independientemente de sus orígenes.

El liderazgo auténtico también significa reconocer y aprender de los errores del pasado. Al reflexionar sobre la anterior Palabra del año, “gaslighting” en 2022, se hace evidente que la autenticidad es su contrapeso. Si bien el gaslighting implica prácticas manipuladoras que oscurecen la verdad y socavan la confianza, la autenticidad busca recuperar la honestidad y la transparencia en las relaciones.

En West Chicago, los funcionarios electos y los líderes comunitarios deben esforzarse por ser auténticos abordando los errores, asumiendo responsabilidades y trabajando de manera proactiva para lograr un cambio positivo. Este compromiso con la autenticidad no sólo genera confianza entre los residentes sino que también establece las bases para una comunidad resiliente y vibrante. Esto es para lo que los elegimos (o designamos) para que hicieran, ¿no es así?

En la batalla en curso para salvar el invernadero, resulta desalentador presenciar la aparente falta de autenticidad y la actitud fría mostrada por los miembros del concejo municipal, el alcalde y la administración. A pesar de los incansables esfuerzos de los residentes involucrados en el movimiento Save The Greenhouse, incluidas múltiples reuniones consecutivas del consejo municipal y la recolección de más de 800 firmas, estos funcionarios han mostrado una desconcertante indiferencia hacia las preocupaciones planteadas. Han pedido supervisión continuamente, se han puesto en contacto con los miembros del concejo, y la ciudad se mantuvo al margen y afirmó que no harían comentarios; sin embargo, cuando aumentó la presión de los medios, recurrieron a su propio sitio web en lugar de intentar comunicarse genuinamente con los Bovey o cualquiera de los partidarios del movimiento Save the Greenhouse. Esto parece hipócrita y un intento de evitar una discusión honesta y auténtica con los residentes involucrados.

Un ejemplo evidente de su inacción es la negativa a dialogar con Dan y Jody Bovey, los propietarios del invernadero, a pesar de sus interminables intentos de comunicación. Los Bovey, junto con muchos partidarios del movimiento, han sido recibidos con apatía y una actitud desdeñosa por parte de quienes están en el poder. Es desconcertante que el ayuntamiento y la administración no parezcan interesados en ayudar, intensificar o incluso ayudar de alguna manera.

El silencio absoluto del alcalde sobre este asunto es particularmente confuso: según el código de la ciudad, tiene el poder de supervisión inherentemente asociado con su cargo, pero no lo ejercerá; lo que es más importante, se niega a interactuar con estos electores en absoluto, incluso después de que la ciudad haya rompió su silencio. En lugar de abordar activamente las preocupaciones y entablar un diálogo constructivo con las partes involucradas, la ciudad ha recurrido a un enfoque unilateral. Publicaron su versión de los hechos y una supuesta cronología de los acontecimientos sin estar abiertos a discutir nada con los residentes afectados.

Este comportamiento distante huele a apatía y falta de preocupación genuina por la voz y los deseos de la comunidad. En una época en la que la autenticidad y la transparencia son cruciales para construir una comunidad resiliente y vibrante, las acciones de nuestro ayuntamiento y administración son profundamente decepcionantes. Sólo se puede lograr un cambio positivo mediante la comunicación abierta y la comprensión, pero parece que nuestros funcionarios están optando por el silencio a menos que mantengan el control sobre la narrativa. Esta actitud desdeñosa no sólo socava las relaciones entre los representantes electos y sus electores, sino que también erosiona la confianza y la fe de todos los residentes de la comunidad. Ya sea que esté de acuerdo o en desacuerdo con la situación de Save the Greenhouse, eludir la participación pública debería ser una señal de alerta para todos. Es una esperanza que el ayuntamiento y la administración eventualmente reconozcan la importancia de escuchar a sus electores y entablar un diálogo significativo. Los miembros del movimiento Save The Greenhouse merecen que se escuchen y consideren sus inquietudes, y es deber de nuestros funcionarios electos representar los mejores intereses de la comunidad. Es hora de que el ayuntamiento y la administración den un paso al frente, muestren autenticidad y trabajen para lograr una solución que preserve el invernadero y respete los deseos de los residentes.

4 thoughts on ““Authentic” – Merriam-Webster Webster’s Word Of The Year and How It Should Apply To City Leadership (Op-Ed)

  1. Excellent observations, accurately mirroring the situation we face in West Chicago. It is disheartening to witness the fumbling of this case by the city officials. I’ve been truly surprised at the indifference displayed by our local government in this matter.
    Makes me sad.

  2. Thank you! This article puts the blame where it belongs–on the elected officials that have stood by silently letting a West Chicago family be harassed and fined. The mayor and city council have never made any effort to communicate or help the Bovey’s to find their way through this debacle created by the current inspectors. No one seems to acknowledge the 800 people who petitioned the mayor. The hundreds of emails and letters sent have been ignored.. No one from the major’s office has acknowledged the approvals given before the new inspector came a year ago. Were those first seven inspections wrong? Maybe the city needs to look at their current inspection team and their treatment of the West Chicago families.
    The Bovey’s only need a permit and unbiased inspection team to make it all go away. Thank you for this great article!

  3. The only problem I have with this opinion piece is that it took you 8 paragraphs to get to the point. By then, you likely would have lost the interest of a lot of people who otherwise would be sympathetic to the plight of the Boveys.

    Publicity is the great evener here, leveling the playing field and bringing about a fair solution to this issue. I don’t live in WC any more, but if I did, I would send a succinct, clearly written, easily comprehendible account of this travesty to local news purveyors such as the Wheaton Journal, or even the Chicago Tribune.

    This is clearly a story an enterprising journalist can sink his teeth into because it illustrates that the corruption of elected authorities takes place not only at the top of the political food chain at the federal level, but extends all the way down to local politics.

    Clearly this is a case of a corrupt, indifferent administration turning a deaf ear to their constituents and they should pay a high price for this, starting with negative publicity, and ending with their getting thrown out on their fat butts come election time.

    WC has a long history of some of the strictest building codes in the county, and the system has been abused for a long time. I think Dan Bovey should run for mayor, making this sort of bureaucratic abuse a centerpiece of his campaign.

    1. Thank you for your comment, we invite you to submit a letter to the editor about this subject. We ask that you use your name as you have here – and keeping it to 800 words or less. We will publish it for you as long as it doesn’t violate our policies on hate, racism or profanity. Please email it to: WestChicagoVoice@gmail.com

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