Years ago, my sister's high school boyfriend came to her with a story of a nightmare. He dreamed that she had died and had left everything to her "19 Closest Friends." He spent the whole dream trying to find out if he was one of them. For some reason, the story of the 19 Closest Friends became legendary in my family. It still means something to me, many years later.
I thought of this story this morning when I read Dennis Lane's response to a comment on Tales of Two Cities,
"Finally, is important to note that the vast majority of Columbia
residents don't really care about this. If you combine the people who
opposed the (Inner Arbor) plan with the people in support it wouldn't
number over 500. That's less than 1% of the lien paying population."
The people who know, and who really care = less than one per cent of the lien paying population.
I'm having trouble getting my mind around that. What it means is that,
whatever Columbia's successes, it has been a monumental failure at
creating citizens who know, who care, and who do something about it.
(The numbers I don't have, of course, are the ones that show a general
relationship between any government and the folks who are involved in a
meaningful way. Is the ratio higher? Lower? More or less the same?
Columbia Compass or Frank Hecker would be helpful here.)
This is MY question:
Are you one of Columbia's 19 Closest Friends?
Are you willing to put your hopes, your values, and your time into the
ongoing, living being that is Columbia? It isn't always easy. It doesn't
always feel that the door is open for you. But good friendships take
work. And time.
For example, Columbians talk a lot about the People Tree. Remember the
uproar when CA gave it a new look? Was it a struggle to see things in a
The People Tree is a symbol for what Columbia was meant to be. But it is
a statue--frozen in time. We can't be static. We need to keep reaching,
striving, working so that more people and visions are included.
The People Tree in motion--what does that look like? It looks like
participation in your neighborhood, your village, and in the ongoing
plans for Columbia. It can look like this.
Columbia needs more friends. Close friends. What can we do to make the case that Columbia is a good friend to have?