What makes a community?


Cookie Newsom



We live in troubled times, from virus, to racism, to economic issues.

In times like these it is important to have like-minded people working towards solutions. Unfortunately in America we are currently divided into camps brandishing, if not swords and spears, verbal attacks and anger at each other.

When it was announced that the fireworks, which the community has enjoyed since the Sonnycalb estate reintroduced them, would take place in a modified manner due to the virus, some people on social media questioned the idea of causing large numbers of people to congregate even with new rules and presumably most from their cars.

The response was nasty in the extreme. Name calling, threats even that if the event got cancelled because of “people like you” there would be consequences. When did we all become so belligerent? So untrusting of our fellow community members?

Communities are built on common ideals and goals. Everyone does not have to agree on everything, but there should be fundamental belief in working towards the common good. There should not be competition to advantage one group or one person or one ideology, or one practice above all others.

Before any civic decision is made, before any initiative is proposed the question should be asked, “Is this the best thing for most of the people who live here?” There will always be people who will take the opposite viewpoint simply because they like being on the other side of anything. It gives them attention and it makes them feel influential, but they are a small minority and easily identified and universally ignored, dismissed with something like the Southern saying applied when people are beyond being helped, “Bless your heart.”

Communities watch out for all of their members to the best of their ability. I have written before on how the area community has supported me and my family in times of distress or tragedy. I have no complaints at all about that. I have, however, recently seen far more of a propensity to only want to help and comfort certain people and to ignore the struggles and strife of others.

Excuses are made about why some animals continue to be treated as more equal than others. There is no doubt when you live in a small town there is going to be a pecking order of who is deemed more worthy, but there also has to be vigilance to make certain that this judgement is based on a doctrine of fairness and equity as much as possible.

When you begin to speak about fairness and equality people often bristle. They think you are saying everyone should get the same treatment or pay or items or lifestyle no matter what they do, or don’t do. But that is one of the excuses. Everyone needs to have the same opportunities and the same care for their well being. What they do with that will vary according to the individual, but the group, the tribe, the community, needs to treat all of its members the same way as much as possible.

I love my communities, both Xenia and Wilberforce and still my third hometown of Cary, N.C. I have generally been treated well in all three and done my best to make sure everyone there is treated well. Sadly, that is not the experience of everyone. Let’s work to make it so. Listen to your fellow community members, look for ways to improve things for everyone, not just some folks you happen to like. If you see something unjust speak up, object long and loudly. Work harder to make it a real community.

It can be done, it should be done.

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Cookie Newsom

Cookie Newsom is a Greene County resident and columnist.

Cookie Newsom is a Greene County resident and columnist.