Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Disaster and Soup

Let's have a disaster.

A great, big natural disaster that brings out the best in everyone.

Because apparently it's the only thing that causes folks in our OneTrueHoward to care about other peoples' neighborhoods and other peoples' children. Somehow a disaster reminds us that the condition we are in is the human condition, and it is meant to be shared.

Not so with redistricting.

Our community has been splintered into an odd assortment of factions, including, but not limited to: the no polygon people, the t-shirt people, the "we paid a lot for our house" people, the "they're out to get us because we're poor and under-represented" people, the anonymous Twitter account people,  the people who are afraid of The Next Town, the "developers are in league with the Devil" people, and probably more. We did this to ourselves. We have no one to blame but ourselves. It is human nature to be fearful of change. It is also human nature to lean toward selfishness.

How can the same foolish creatures who accuse perfectly ordinary fellow citizens of nefarious intent when it comes to school attendance boundaries have within themselves the ability to spring into action when it comes to floods, tornadoes, fires, and hurricanes? How is this even possible? Why can't we turn on that switch of unselfish cooperation to work with community members to make our schools the best they can possibly be?

When I was little I remember being both fascinated and perplexed by the story of Stone Soup. I couldn't understand why none of the villagers would share anything, not even a crumb. Why were they so distrustful? Why were they convinced that they must hide all that they had, that there was not enough to be shared?

And how did they come to be transformed by the unfolding vision of the soup made from stones? What was it that convinced them to let down their guard and risk a bit of the little they had? Whatever it was, we need some in Howard County. Because natural disasters are not something to wish for, no matter how well we respond to them.

What we really need is trust. Trust that no one is trying to steal our tiny piece of the pie that we would fight rather than surrender. Trust that the soup made by neighbors who share is better than a hoarded crust alone.

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