August 10th, 2009

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#68: Dick Bernard: Putting the “n” back in “commuity”

Monday, August 10th, 2009

Other posts on this topic: Jul 24,26,27,29,30,31,August 1,2,5,6,7,15.

There is no such word as “commuity”, but that is what effectively happens when you remove the “n”, as in “negotiate”, or “neighborly” or “nice”.  Put the “n” back in, and you have, again, “community”.

We all have a pretty clear sense of “community”, and how a good “community” works.  Most of us live in such environments.  People may not know each other well, but when chips are down, they chip in and help each other.  Reluctant as they sometimes might be, ordinarily there is some kind of negotiations to make changes for the greater good of everyone. 

There are efforts to define “community” in very narrow ways.  Community, really, is all of us, together.  We are not isolated homes, villages or farms, and if honest about our history, we’ve never been able to exist on our own.  This is especially true today.    

This thought comes to mind as a well orchestrated and small, (and very well publicized) group of very ordinary appearing “thugs” are out and about attempting to make it seem like the current debate over health care reform will result in riots and chaos if such reform is passed. 

It is tempting to think that the situation is nearly out of control.  This is what we are led to believe, especially by media accounts.

But, I would ask, stop for a moment, and take a look around in all of the “circles” that you personally identify with: the people on your block and the few surrounding blocks; the neighbors down the road; the people who go to your church, or who you work with, or see frequently, whether they are friends are not.  Just ordinary people, like you.

What percent of these folks are likely to become a fascist militia to run riot if some law is passed which will improve they and their families lives? But that is exactly what this mis-named “debate” is about: inculcating Fear and Loathing.

I have done this little circle of communities exercise with myself.  I have a lot of circles I’m  one way or another part of.  Most of these circles are not full of people who think exactly like I do.

I would submit that the “thugs in waiting” in these circles are very few and far between – I guess less than 5% and that’s guessing very high. 

If we don’t capitulate (by inaction), and keep letting lawmakers know that we support the need for change, the likelihood is that the sense of crisis will dissipate…mostly because we are not talking, here, about radical changes (except, perhaps, as seen by some of the key ring-leaders against change who want chaos, but prefer to stay hidden in the shadows, and send out their own volunteer militias to attempt to make trouble.) 

I grew up with many sayings.  One which comes to mind, now, is that “quitters never win, winners never quit”. 

Well over 70% of the U.S. population wants change in Health policy.

Are we going to let some folks well inoculated with Fear derail progress in this area?

Seriously, look at your own “community circle census”.  It’ll restore hope.

Then get back to work.  Dealing with change is not a spectator sport.