Friday, October 26, 2012

My Selectmen Take on the UN

By Bill Gouveia

While reading this fine newspaper recently, I came across a riveting article.  It told how the Norton Board of Selectmen had reversed a previous vote and decided not to locally promote United Nations Day this year because, in the words of my good friend and veteran selectman Bob Kimball, “They aren’t making any effort whatsoever to protect the citizens of the world”.

Well, thank goodness we in Norton have the board of selectmen to protect us from these foolish endeavors.  I shudder to think what could have happened were not the selectmen standing ever vigilant at the gates of town, preventing ineffective organizations from gaining the huge advantage and supreme status of being specificallyrecognized in the global community that is Norton.

Having served as a Norton selectman, I know the tremendous pressure board members are under to issue these much sought-after royal proclamations honoringcauses and institutions.  There can be little doubt adding the Norton selectmen’s approval elevates them to the next level.  

I join our distinguished selectmen in saying I do not think the UN has done a great job over the last decade or so.  And as the selectmen do, I also believe the UN’sintentions are good.  But good intentions won’t get you recognized on your 67thanniversary from this Norton board, not by a long shot.  This group only pays off forresults.

Sure, we all know the UN is an organization formed for the purpose of establishing peace, protecting human rights, and saving children.  But what have they done for us lately?  They let almost anyone speak there - even those who don’t agree with us.  It’s obviously a good thing selectmen won’t fly the UN flag in recognition of their efforts (successful or not) for peace over the past seven decades.  Heck, I might not even contribute when those pesky kids come to my door on Halloween trying to collect pennies for UNICEF, the fund the UN sponsors to feed starving children across the world.

Some radicals think perhaps selectmen should have taken the larger view.  They could have recognized the tremendous goals of the United Nations, the ideals on which it was originally created, and celebrated that.  I suppose they could have urged the UN to improve on its performance while still managing to honor the fact there is a placenations can go to try and avoid wars by agreeing to communicate with each other in an orderly fashion.

They probably could have set aside a day to honor the many troops and diplomats across the globe who work hard to make the UN better, despite living in a world where most shoot first and ask questions later.  But hey – selectmen can’t beseen as saying the town supports some organization that simply isn’t getting the job done.  Norton can’t just honor every organization out there seeking world peace.  Selectmen must stand on their principles.

Let’s just hope all those Eagle Scouts the selectmen rightfully and properly recognize every year understand why they no longer get citations and proclamations.  No doubt the kids deserve it for their outstanding work and efforts.  But the Boy Scouts organization hasn’t really gotten the job done lately, and that could not have possiblyescaped the eagle-eyes of our local board members.  

Using the same sound logic and principles on which they based their decision to not promote the UN locally, selectmen will no doubt also shun the scouts.  With the recently released list of suspected sexual predators they kept secret for decades, thusexposing kids to harm that could have been prevented, the Boy Scouts must rank right up there with the UN on the selectmen’s list.  Continuing to recognize the scouting organization and not the UN would be hypocritical, political and silly.  It’s pretty clear the selectmen are way above that sort of thing.

Here’s hoping the Norton board gets all the attention they so richly deserve for their debut on the world stage.  All our local issues must be completely under control,since they have now shifted their efforts to global matters.

You think this means Town Meeting has to get involved in trade talks with China? I need to find my Mandarin/English dictionary…

Bill Gouveia is a local columnist and the Norton Town Moderator. He can be emailed at and followed on Twitter at @Billinsidelook.

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