Thursday, June 11, 2015

Polls and Pools

We love to win things here in Howard County. Why, just earlier this week, I was adding my vote in a poll to promote Merriweather Post Pavillion. And there are plenty of polls and surveys and awards about our community and our schools. We just love winning.

In general I take a dim view of these "awards". In fact, I have written before about the local tendency to suck up the accolades without contemplating the consequences. So today I present to you a contest we didn't win. In fact, we came in at sixth place.

Yes, Columbia/Ellicott City came in at an almost anemic sixth place in the Money Magazine 2014 poll for Best Places to Live. And I absolutely do not care. Why? Well, because here is the winner:

McKinney, Texas.

Yes, that McKinney, Texas.

So, about that First Place designation in the Money Magazine poll. Which do you think defines them more accurately as a community--a magazine poll or a pool party gone terribly wrong?

Do I think that we are perfect here in Howard County? No, far from it. Do I think we have racism? Yes, sadly. Do I think we have teens and parties that might get raucous or out of hand? Probably. But I do not believe that we have the pervasive underlying sentiment that provoked someone to call the police at that pool party. And I don't believe that our police department would handle this situation in the same way.

Our character is what we do when we think no one is looking.

-- H.Jackson Brown, Jr.

So, friends, please stop believing that polls and surveys and contests define who we are. Keep on doing what you're doing. Try to become a little better every day. Take pride in the things about our community that really, really matter.

That's what winning is. Accept no substitutions.




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