One year after the start of a global pandemic, I realize I’ve gone feral. No pedicures or facials, haircuts only on a friend’s patio, stuck at home paralyzed by fear of getting and spreading the disease to someone who might not survive.
I do venture after groceries and takeout, but otherwise have been content to stick close to home — safe in my comfortable little cave.
It wasn’t until the vaccine became locally available that I realized just how feral I’d become.
Now that there’s light glimmering at the mouth of my cave, I’ve decided it’s time to shift out of survival mode. It’s a little self-centered, after all, to focus only on my own security. It’s hard to be a productive member of a community while sitting in a cave.
This has become increasingly obvious as I watch the feral nature of the upcoming March 9 municipal elections. Isn’t it time we all drop our survivalist focus and shelve the partisan personality battles?
Baring teeth and pouncing on competitors may provide some stimulation to residents still hiding out from COVID-19, but it’s counterproductive to building a better community.
There are big issues aimed at our South County communities that can’t be ignored: extreme weather, sea-level rise, aging infrastructure, and the increasing cost of public safety, to name a few.
We elect our government officials to deal with these complex issues by looking beyond their own self-interest to what’s best for the community.
Increasing the tax base with larger homes, more density and urban infill seems attractive until fire-rescue vehicles can’t pass through flooded streets during a summer thunderstorm. Protecting individual property rights sounds righteous until my neighbor’s decisions block the sunlight on my home power source or create a permanent wetland in my once-dry yard.
There has to be a balance between the outcry of an organized, vocal few demanding the immediate right to increase their own property values and the long-term negative impact on overall quality of life or the value of neighboring properties.
There has to be give and take. No individual is going to have all the answers.
We elect local officials to make laws that benefit the community as a whole. They are, after all, our Home Rule. Without them we’d be legislated by state or federal governments — and no one in our libertarian-minded coastal communities wants that to happen.
As we see a glimmer of hope for a return to “normal” life after this horrible, deadly pandemic, it’s time to shake off our feral tendencies, come out of our pandemic hibernation and gain a less self-focused understanding of the complex process of planning for an equitable future.

— Mary Kate Leming, Editor

 

 

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