Wednesday, January 23, 2013

All the Wrong Reasons

I made an unhappy discovery earlier this week on the street where I live. It wasn't solitary by any means and I suspect you've got similar discoveries of your own that, if we compared notes, would add up to more tears and turbulence than we are able to bear.

Just down the street from my house I realized the neighbors I knew well enough to nod hello to have waved goodbye and departed without a word. They and their huge, furry and friendly dog are gone. I do not remember a for sale sign or a moving van and in these times, those two don't always come as a matching set.

We already have two houses on our street for sale. It's a pretty long street and I don't mean to sound like I'm bragging. You'd be hard pressed to find any street in Norwich that doesn't have at least one house on the market. There's a difference between wanting to sell your house and having to sell your home.

After all these months of political campaigning, it's not flippancy to suggest the most critically important lawn signs in any election are the ones the Realtors put out. And in Norwich, as across most of New London County and a great deal of elsewhere in the state, Realtors and banks have been awfully busy, if not especially productive.

I mention the empty houses remembering the one on Washington Street across from the Buckingham School, when it still stood, that I watched become that way one Saturday morning on my way to a One City Forum at the Central Firehouse. By the time I'd walked back home, an hour or so later, the family was packed and gone. The forum had been about generating and implementing ideas to attract people and businesses to come here. Too late for too many.

Having ridden the Big Blue Marble for more than sixty orbits around the sun I recognize we live in a capitalist culture that too often relies on politics to drive economics. This often results in bumpy rides and hard landings for whom we seek scapegoats to blame when all we need do is look in the mirror.

We're in the early stages of neighbors offering themselves for public office for our November elections, but that date, November 5, will be here more quickly than we can imagine and I'm always happy with choices unless it's been reduced to between a blindfold and an electric chair (I'm a pony rides kind of guy).

We'll have an opportunity to select seven people for Mayor and  City Council and to nine members for the Board of Education. That is 'for today, and for tomorrow.' We can't spend enough time encouraging talented and engaged people to consider seeking office because we need all the help we can get.

We campaign in poetry but govern in prose. We'll be enticed and seduced by oratory in the coming weeks and months but we need to make sure we appreciate the differences between hopes and plans. Hopes are wishes we make with our heart. Plans are good intentions we make real through work.
-bill kenny       

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