This is Geoff Gilson.

A vacancy will soon be opening on the Carrboro Board of Aldermen. My mind turns to matters of political ‘establishment,’ the righteousness of challenge in a community, and what makes me itchy.

Now. Let’s get clear. There is a political ‘establishment’ in Carrboro. This is not necessarily a bad thing. So, why the itch?

Well, I get itchy at the appearance of an ‘establishment’ coronation.

I get itchy at any sense that one has to be a part of an homogenous ‘establishment’ to make progress.

I get itchy when members of an ‘establishment’ have attributed to them phrases like so-and-so “is a good fit.” Like there is only one fit. Like only one size fits all in our community.

I get itchy when an ‘establishment’ gives one the impression that it feels that its role in government should be more that of pressure group than consensus-building mediator for the whole community.

I don’t mind so much the idea that an ‘establishment’ within government challenges. We should, all of us, always be challenged to do better. Not least by our government.

But I get itchy when an ‘establishment’ within government itself is not regularly challenged. And I’m not sure government in Carrboro is challenged.

There is not any community, anywhere, which cannot find itself performing better as a consequence of regular, genuine and meaningful challenge.

The problem (and it is a self-defeating and self-perpetuating problem), the problem is that challenge won’t be forthcoming from the ranks of the ‘establishment.’

And yet, challenge won’t make any progress unless it is embraced by that ‘establishment,’ for no better reason and often with no qualification other than the fact that it is well-meaning and well-articulated challenge.

I wonder if Carrboro has not become more of a playground for imports to engage in social engineering experimentation, rather than an engaged, an engaging and an all-inclusive community.

I wonder if more of Carrboro does not speak out simply because it feels overwhelmed.

I wonder if it is not time for a conversation in our community about whether it is, as a whole, at ease with the direction of the community.

And whether, perhaps, that conversation might not more easily be instigated by an Alderman less wedded to the establishment and to its prevailing social engineering.

Well, that’s my take. And this is Geoff Gilson.