Friday, October 10, 2008

"It is not every day that we are needed"

In the amount of time it's taken the Earth to circle the sun once, I've been hammering at the keyboard writing this blog. Thank goodness the Earth is better at its job than I at mine. It's funny how it so often seems to be one step forward and two steps back. What provoked me into launching this last year was a state of cynical self-absorption I saw within local politics. And it still incites and drives me.

Macbeth noted, "Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow/Creeps in this petty pace from day to day/To the last syllable of recorded time. And all our yesterdays have lighted fools/The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle! Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player/That struts and frets his hour upon the stage, And then is heard no more. It is a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing." Especially in light of his last line, I hope if you have a sound card, you'd consider turning it off. Thanks.

A year ago in Norwich, CT, where I've lived with my wife, Sigrid and (until they became adults, themselves) our children, Patrick Michael and Michelle Alison, we were embroiled in a strenuous discussion on the various philosophies and schools of thought about economic development and smart growth. That we were having this discussion at the top of our lungs so loudly that none of us could hear what anyone else was saying wasn't so much sad (though it was), as merely business as usual and not just around here.

For the last couple of weeks (it really could have been for months, but we didn't pay attention), unhappiness has been building over the actions of the
Continuing Legislative Committee on State Planning and Development and, more precisely, the inactions of the City of Norwich and those who represent it, in connection with a change of land use for an area of the city whose residents were caught unawares by what is seen as a fait accompli. As happened last September and October, large number of residents from across the city turned out at Monday's City Council meeting.

No one was interested in discussing (at least Monday night) the idea of incorporating an 'active adult community' into a designated space and place as noted with the Plan of Development somewhere in Down City, or Chelsea (both nicknames, seemingly, for a downtown Norwich that is, imho, often more theoretical than actual)-no, we were Searching for the Guilty and we do that well because we have LOTS of practice. J'accuse! (us everyone, especially that little Tiny Tim brat 'and your wretched little d--'OH, nevermind!)

What would be nice, as someone who goes to a lot of City Council, and other municipal, meetings would be to see an ever increasing and expanding group of engaged and energized citizens in attendance. Lots of folks voted last November 'for change' and I guess went home and looked for it in the couch cushions of the sofa on the sun porch.

Insanity, say the pundits, is doing things the same way you always have and hoping this time the result will be different. I would imagine, without checking, I've written a variation of that line two or three dozen times in the last year in this space. Why do I find that funny? The joke's on me.

We, each of us, need to be the change we wish to see in the world (another line I've used more than once). We need to understand all the help we will ever have to address local, regional, national and international challenges and situations is within each of us and can and will be found nowhere else. We are all we have-and all we will ever need. Too many of us are
waiting for Godot, oblivious that it's Samuel and not Josh. "We are all born mad. Some remain so."
-bill kenny

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