Thursday, June 23, 2011

Community Activism

"People need to take more individual responsibility."

I stand on the other side of that fence, where people believe that 'individualism' is a relic of state of nature, and that we left that state in order to form this more perfect union.  Conservatives will rail on and on about how, if people would just be more independent, and wasn't so dependent on government, that everything would be just fine.  Civilized people a long time ago abandoned that concept, because they realized that this is a united we stand and divided we fall world, that we live in.

This weekend, my hometown suffered a severe wind storm, that left power-lines and trees strewn about, and most of the town without power.  Rather than each individual taking care of his or her own property damage, I saw a community become one super-efficient tree debris clearing machine.  It didn't matter if you didn't personally own a chain saw, flatbed trailer, or a tree shredder, if you had limbs down in your yard it was mostly cleared by the end of the day.  There was no need for someone without any of those tools or the ability, to lift logs that weighed hundreds of pounds or worry about hiring a tree clearing service, because with the whole town's resources combined, there was all of the personnel and equipment we needed at arm's length.

It was easily one of the most impressive sights I have ever seen.  Without electricity, burdened by heat and humidity, those who had the means and ability, helped those who didn't.  They did so without chastising those not doing as much, with less.  No one required the disabled or elderly to brave the clutter, and if you didn't own a chainsaw you weren't required to 'rent' one from your neighbor.  Without elongated thought or consideration, and without instructions or orders, people realized that there was something that needed to be done, so those who could, banded together and got the job done.

It was the best example of liberalism that one could demonstrate.  Had conservatism won the day, half of the town would still be waiting for private contractors to clear the roads, people's yards, and local market areas.  Thankfully, individualism had no place here, this weekend.  People accepted the notion of community and outreach without hesitation, and we are now the better for it.

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