Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Point of View

It's all in how you look at it. In the comments following The Baltimore Sun article about the politics of plowing, I caught this remark:

My neighbor and I shoveled out our block and thus were able to get out. Assume the plows are not coming and start shoveling. Also every family should have at least one four wheel drive vehicle.
6 hours after we shoveled out the block a plow came by and we had to do more shoveling. Unless you are 70+ stop whining and get to work.

A little tip of the hat to Marie Antoinette, here? (Yes, I know she gets a bad rap.) "Every family should have at least one four wheel drive vehicle." Exactly where are they handing these out so I can be sure to have one?

As I wrote on Monday:

Complaints about County services right now are divided. Divided in some cases between East and West, Columbia and HoCo, main streets and side streets, and yes, Democrats vs Republicans. (Why not? Everything else is.)

In one way or another, we all have a limited point of view.

A growing concern of mine is an attitude that expecting the County to fulfill its obligations during a storm is lazy and selfish. It appears to be largely coming from the Western, more rural, part of the county but I wouldn't stake my life on that. Here is an example of an exchange I found on Twitter. A highlight:

People need to learn to be self sufficient. Quit depending on a broken government to do everything for you. If you have a shovel you can dig yourself out.

Others on the thread wonder if that poster would feel the same way about patching the roads, or putting out residential fires. Just how much self-sufficiency would he advocate?

It's one thing to love your own way of life, your neighbors, and how you handle tough situations like these. But it's quite another to use that feeling to negatively judge people whose experiences are not the same as your own. When I read things like "we don't wait for the government to dig us out", or "maybe Columbia just doesn't have a spirit of community" it breaks my heart a little.

Community has many different ways of manifesting itself. We shouldn't require that everyone have the same way of responding to a storm like this. After all, we don't all have the same abilities and the same needs.

Be who you are. Do what you can do. Be proud of that. You should be. But you can't possibly know the circumstances of others. So don't use your limited point of view as a weapon to demean others.

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