The City of Holland is running $2M short in it’s yearly budget and as a result cut half of its public-access TV allocation, which concerned Vicki and I because that’s where we air the Words of Peace TV show. So we attended the Council meeting and entered this letter into the minutes–
Holland City Hall
270 South River Avenue
Holland, Michigan 49423
Dear Honored Members of the Holland City Council,
The decision-making process to support public-access television involves an intuitive and deep idea about American democracy. Yet the decision by a city to fund public-access television seems to be as simple a way to implement this idea as might be desired.
In the Gettysburg Address, Abraham Lincoln stated a foundational principle of the nation which, at the time, had been expressed and re-expressed several ways– first, through a Supreme Court decision clarifying the role of the Federal government in the context of states’ rights, second by Daniel Webster in a Congressional debate, and then perhaps most eloquently by the abolitionist Theodore Parker. President Lincoln highlighted the relevant words in a text of one of Parker’s speeches and then later brought the principle to bear in his Gettysburg address, declaring “… that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the Earth.”
Holland public-access television is “of the people” because the money that the city can use to fund public-access TV is “of the people.” The money for public-access comes from subscriber fees.
Holland public-access television is “by the people” because the programs on Holland public-access television are produced by the people.
Holland public-access television is “for the people” because the programming on public-access television is programming for the people.
It seems remarkable that cities in America have such a straightforward way to implement such a deep idea about democracy. In these difficult economic times, the City of Holland should be congratulated for its long-time support of public-access television and also be encouraged to continue. The world needs to see how this deep idea about democracy can be implemented. (Especially through video-on-demand!)
Specifically, we thank the City of Holland for enabling us as producer/volunteers to broadcast Words of Peace TV in the city of Holland. Many other cities around the world have also enabled the broadcast of Words of Peace on public access. Granted, the benefits to a city are usually hard to quantify. But in our own experience and from information shared with us by other producer/volunteers for Words of Peace TV, viewers often comment that the message in Words of Peace brings feelings of peace despite the challenges many of us experience. It is a universal message that calls on the best in people everywhere. For a video that shows some evidence of these benefits to a particular city, we invite you to visit the webpage http://www.wopg.org/en/webcasts/special-videos , where you can see an event on peace involving the Mayor and City Council of the city of Mazara Del Vallo, Italy. The video shows high school students of Mazara Del Vallo interacting with the featured speaker in Words of Peace TV, Mr. Prem Rawat.
Again, thank you so much for the opportunity to air Words of Peace in the city of Holland.