I realize that the idea of tax-paying citizens caring and contributing to their local community is just old-hat.
People today treat the town they live in like it’s a Big Mac®. Drive quickly into the local McDonalds, snap up a burger, scarf it down and then, when it’s a distant memory in your gullet, go for another! You’ve paid for it, eat it! The idea that you would find out the well-being of the restaurant, locate and identify the manager or gauge the impact it has on the community is the farthest thing from your memory.
And that is how the vast-majority of Americans treat the town or city they live in. You’ll find out soon if you get involved in the local government how gut-wrenching it is to find out that a group numbering as few as a couple of hundred people are actually involving themselves in City Hall! That’s nice for insecure politicians and self-serving municipal employees but hardly a healthy thing in our City.
And it is doubly a terrible thing in Newburyport!
Our city is much like a great ship. (and hopefully not like the Titanic.) The vessel and all its parts including the crew have to work together seamlessly to effectively ply the world’s oceans. If any part fails, it can result in a domino effect that can do great damage to other areas. On the other hand, the different and well-functioning sectors of the ship are like singers in a chorus: every individual part contributes to make a great musical piece.
We need to get more citizens not just adding their voices but actually knowing what is going on in the City. Only then, can the voters actually make wise decisions as to what is best for the community. Without knowledge, it’s just an unruly and rather frustrated, angry mob!
And the same goes on historic preservation and environmental preservation. Each citizen needs to know that the historic home they live in is a stewardship. Whole generations before them took care of the house and then passed it on to a new generation. That building is not there to be ‘consumed’ or ‘abused’; it’s to be taken care of so you, as a good steward, can pass it on to the next generation.
For Newburyport to have a future as a powerful historic community, we need entire neighborhoods of citizens understanding their stewardship role.
Without it, the historic part of the city will be devoured like a BIG MAC®. This goes for our precious ecological assets: The Common Pasture, the Great Marsh, Plum Island and the Merrimack River. They’re not here to ‘use up’, ‘chew well’ and ‘swallow down’. If Newburyport is to maintain its leadership as a center for ecology and green technology, we have to stop treating the open spaces like BIG MACs®.
We need to be stewards.
And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you –
ask what you can do for your country. -John F. Kennedy
If we don’t adopt the right attitude in our City, we will have no future.