Meaning that he understood the importance of the individual's responsibility to the polis (πολις), the community -- and the responsibility of the leaders of the polis to attend to doing what fosters the well-being of the entire community.
As we bid farewell to our friend and leader, we would do well to reflect on his legacy and affirm our responsibility to carry it forward.
Ray Blanco celebrated inclusivity, diversity and opportunity.
Ray believed in including everyone in the political stew. He always reached out -- to those who didn't see it his way as well as those who did. He reached out to young people to encourage their talents and urge their best contributions to society. His was not a vision of private success alone.Ray Blanco saw the City Council as a center of excellence and interdependence.
Ray believed there was room for all at the table, that opportunity was not a scarce resource, but the very nature of the way life unfolds. And he believed in seizing opportunity.
Ray rejoiced in the opportunities -- and especially the business opportunities -- in Plainfield for one and all who have a dream, make a plan, and will roll up their sleeves and get to work.
Ray believed that a Council should work hard and to its fullest ability. And he pushed people, like a good coach, to do better than they thought they could.Ray Blanco believed in transparency in the conduct of the people's business.
Ray understood the interdependence of the branches of government, and staunchly defended the prerogatives as well as the responsibilities of each.
Ray was a stickler for abiding by the spirit as well as the letter of the law. He could be innovative, but appreciated the role of custom in holding things together. He believed in playing by the rules.
Ray believed public office was an opportunity to serve the people, not rule them.Ray Blanco was generous with praise and help.
Ray believed that governance should be as transparent as possible.
Ray believed that opportunities for citizens to serve on boards and commissions and in other voluntary ways should be simple and accessible. Both are hallmarks of his first significant legislative effort, the Civic Responsibility Act.
Ray welcomed and cherished all: youth and adults; Black, white and Latino; native-born and immigrant; straight and gay.We can do nothing to bring back that smile, that laugh, that warmth and energy.
Ray despised demagoguery. He could not abide dissembling.
Ray never took an opportunity to raise himself up by belittling or demeaning others or their contributions.
But we can dedicate ourselves to honoring Ray's contributions --
- By taking them up as our own, making them part of our own civic life.
- By embracing diversity.
- By encouraging young people to engage themselves politically.
- By conducting the people's affairs with openness, honesty, and the best interests of Plainfield foremost.
To our brother Ray, 'hail and farewell,' Ave atque vale.
-- Dan Damon
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