There are some things in this world that are sure, like death and taxes. One of those things that are solid is the fact that government when it goes beyond the traditional role of protecting just doesn’t do things very well. As Mayor Holaday stressed the City can not prosper unless there are volunteers to help it.
I was very pleased to see the editorial today in the Daily News on the roll-up-the-sleeve attitude of Robin and Sidney Graves. They saw a need and without seeking some personal ‘profit’ helped to clean up Brown School’s yard and hedges and now is seeking for the City to do its part in making the school appealing.
And its happening all over Newburyport. I strode past little Atwood Park in the South End and was blown away by the landscaping. You could tell it was not done by the DPW; it had some caring individuals touch all over it. Look at a park like March’s Hill that has no ‘volunteer’ group attached to it and compare it with the other parks that do and the difference shines through. Think of the army of volunteers that man our committees and commissions. Without them, the City would be paralyzed.
Yet, what so often happens is creeping socialism. We see an issue or a problem and we think, “Someone in government will take care of it” I had an acquaintance who went to Japan and witnessed a tragic auto accident right before their eyes. Pedestrians that crowded the sidewalks made no movement to help the victims. They looked in mass up the street and then down the street, looking for the ambulance to come. They made no motion to check the welfare of the injured. It had to be the American who ran out to find out if everyone was okay.
Unfortunately, in America’s larger cities, this attitude of ‘passed off responsibility’ is catching on and is debilitating. In Boston, the Graves would have been roundly criticized for cleaning up the school grounds. “That is for a government employee to do”, they would have been chided and accusations of “stealing” work would have been hurled at them.
Our City workers know how tight the budgets are and are appreciative of anyone who pitches in. How do you fight creeping socialism? Easy. Identify the needs of the community, seek a solution, find the fastest way to resolve it and figure out what you as an individual can do to help.
It could be as simple as pulling a weed or pushing a broom.
This volunteer spirit isn’t a luxury for our City; it’s a desperate necessity.