Friday, May 04, 2007

"It's Not Like We're Finding A Cure For Cancer. . ."

Community As Cause Celebre

Okay. So The Community Alliance posts what we believe is a blog with bang -- content of compelling interest if not of great moment. We expect to see mass protests spontaneously arise at Town Hall, and angry voices to be directed, if not toward government, then certainly toward us. And what do we get? A collective yawn.

Sure, it’s not like we’re finding a cure for Cancer, or developing a vaccine to prevent that most tragic of all maladies, Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS). And what we say on the blog and do in the community isn’t going to bring an end to the genocide in Darfur. In the scheme of it all, we don’t even amount to a wart at the end of Peter Schmitt's nose.

Then again, grasping the bigger picture, how many of us are actually walking, marching, running or relaying for a cause? Cancer. Birth Defects. Autism. Diabetes. ADD (or DDA – that's ADD with Dyslexia). How many of us even know about – or have taken a stand, active or otherwise – against the mass murders taking place half a world away in the Sudan?

Maybe the diseases, the famine, the infanticide, the ethnic, racial and religious cleansings are simply too horrific to imagine, or even to think about. Could be that these cancers – of the body and of humankind – are just too overwhelming for most of us to deal with. Let’s not even allow the thoughts to enter our minds. Maybe they will just go away.

When Cancer or Tourettes or some orphan disease strikes close to home, we’ll march, run, walk and do whatever it takes to find a cure, to fund research, to garner government and public support. [Find me one politician who isn’t wearing a pink ribbon in support of Breast Cancer research. Is there anyone – other than the drug manufacturers and possibly the medical profession – who is against finding a cure?]

When the knock comes at our own doors in the middle of the night – to arrest us without warrant or cause, to deport our illegal immigrant parents, to question us as “persons of interest,” or to strike a loved one with an affliction or two – then we’ll belatedly sound the alarm in vain protest. Where were we yesterday, or the day before that? Hey, at least we're doing something NOW!

But property taxes, illegal rental apartments, code enforcement, the taking of a home to build a strip mall, and other sundry community matters – of what consequence are they? Could anything pale more by comparison than brownfields do to killing fields?

It couldn’t be that these local concerns, as piddling as they may appear, haven’t hit close to home. For goodness sake, they are already IN our homes!

We’ve become desensitized, on the one hand – bombarded with enough data and information (let’s not even talk about the misinformation) to spin Jane (not related to Jay or Judy) Jacobs’ head, were she still of this earthly sphere. On the other hand, we are frustrated to the point of near-submission – our collective pleas over these many years falling upon such deaf ears that we disenfranchise ourselves rather than to rail against the silence.

We believe that we can beat Cancer in our lifetime. We might even find it in our souls to end the senseless murders in Darfur and lesser publicized corners of our world. As for property taxes, illegal apartments, and the redevelopment of “Downtown,” well, as with those bigger, more world-bending issues, maybe we’re simply overwhelmed.
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Coming up on the blog: A renewed effort at civic unity in Hempstead Town as civic council takes shape in the Bellmores. [Hmmm. An umbrella organization to give strength -- and a voice -- to a unity of interests in community concerns? Where have we heard that before? :-)]

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