Finally, let me address the issue of being an integral part of a community. What a subjective beauty this term is. It is a concept that seems to somehow get tied to the length of time a person lives in a community rather than the actions of that person while they are there. If time were the factor, none of the local residents who spend half the year in Florida would be integral. All of the residents who live in a community 12 months a year would be integral. Who is it that determines who is and who isn’t integral? This issue is a two-way street. There’s responsibility on the part of the new person to make the effort to integrate into the community, but there is also responsibility on the part of the existing community to welcome them and encourage them to become part of it. Calling them “elitists” or “outsiders” is not a good start. Fortunately, we have great neighbors and new friends who have done their share to make us feel a part of the neighborhood and community. While we don’t have a checklist on how to be integral, we do help wherever and however we can, and we don’t demand much, if anything, in the way of services from the schools and the government. We frequent and support local businesses, attend and support our local church, help local charities and, in general, seem to be doing all the things that we’ve always done wherever we’ve lived. I’m sure there are “flatlanders” who do more and some who do less. At the same time, I’m sure there are some locals who could do more for their community or could do a better job of welcoming the new people to the neighborhood. Being an integral part of anything has very little to do with time.
It is time to focus on the real issues, unite people to solve the problems and to stop creating classes that divide and provide no solution.
Wednesday, June 07, 2006
Opinion column in todays ADE: