Yesterday I attended the 100th birthday celebration for James Rouse. I brought Margo because I wanted her to be a part of it, and because I suspected she'd get a charge out of seeing the Young Columbians. (She did) One odd thing we noticed was that there were a significant number of people there who were not smiling.
I was trying my best to be friendly and neighborly but quite a few people just weren't buying. Not everyone was glum, however. There were plenty of cheerful folks. Some young families with children playing or getting face paint, and I saw some of my own friends who were in a celebratory mood.
When we took our seats we became aware of a man behind us pontificating on the subject of Michael McCall. As people stopped by his seat, he expressed indignation that Mr. McCall could be at the event, having snacks and drinks at the front of the room, talking to people. If I had not known better, I would have thought he was talking about an escaped convict.
The conversation moved quickly to the Inner Arbor. "It's all over now!" I heard. "He has absolutely no idea what he's doing."
"Well what's the plan? What do we do next?"
"Well, first we go after the Caterpillar..." their voices trailed off in angry mumbles...
Margo and I looked at eachother. We decided to find other seats. As we walked away we noticed he was wearing a "Save Symphony Woods" t-shirt. We didn't feel quite as celebratory as we had when we arrived.
I have been thinking a lot in the last week about the judgement of Solomon. Do you know the story? Here's the gist of it, courtesy of Wikipedia:
(1 Kings 3:16-28) Two young women who lived in the same house and who both had an infant son came to Solomon for a judgment. One of the women claimed that the other, after accidentally smothering her own son while sleeping, had exchanged the two children to make it appear that the living child was hers. The other woman denied this and so both women claimed to be the mother of the living son and said that the dead boy belonged to the other.
After some deliberation, King Solomon called for a sword to be brought before him. He declared that there was only one fair solution: the live son must be split in two, each woman receiving half of the child. Upon hearing this terrible verdict, the boy's true mother cried out, "Oh Lord, give the baby to her, just don't kill him!" The liar, in her bitter jealousy, exclaimed, "It shall be neither mine nor yours—divide it!"
The king declared the first mother as the true mother and gave her the baby. King Solomon's judgment became known throughout all of Israel and was considered an example of profound wisdom.
Columbia is that child, that infant son. And what we are witnessing right now is a small group of angry people who are willing to sacrifice its life, the essence of of what it truly is, in order to get what they want. They would rather kill the future of our community in order to control it. Today, Symphony Woods. Tomorrow? What then?
It would not be difficult for Solomon to look at this situation and see the truth.
Our community has all kinds of talented and hardworking advocates who want to participate in its growth. They believe that a vibrant Columbia welcomes people of all kinds, of all generations. These people come from a variety of generations and backgrounds. Despite what you may have heard, they're not developers or salesmen. They are parents of young children, teachers, engineers, musicians, lawyers, master gardeners and more. What they share is a vision of ensuring the life of Columbia beyond their own lifetimes, a desire to share with their children and grandchildren: to include, not exclude. To love, not control.
Jim Rouse's son said in an interview for the event, "We are co-creators of Columbia. Go out and create this great city."
We don't have an all-powerful Solomon to render judgment in this case. We have to decide for for ourselves. The sword is in the air.
And, if you didn't make it to the celebration at Merriweather today (which was awesome, by the way) you can celebrate by reading this post by Lisa B, Mrs. S., entitled:
"Oh, I LOVE this place!"