Rarely a day passes that someone doesn't ask, "Why do you guys keep on writing? Where do you find the energy? Does any of this really make a difference?"
The answer to "why" is simple. We write because we care about community -- its people, its prospects, its potential. We write to explore the issues, to examine the solutions, and to ponder the seemingly imponderable. We write to illuminate, to enlighten, and, yes, to provoke your reaction -- whether that reaction is a grin, a grimace, or a rush over to the Board of Elections to register to vote.
We write, because that's what we do. It is a trumpet call to action; a boistrous prayer for relief; a curse at that darned candle that burns our hand as we stumble our way in the darkness.
Where do we find the energy? Well, some of us sleep at night. Others, blog. Besides, it takes a lot more energy to frown than it does to smile, and just sitting there, taking it, is not our style.
Does any of this make a difference? Perhaps not, in the overall scheme of things. After all, the same issues we railed about on Day One continue to confound us. [And no one is rushing to nominate us for the Town's Make A Difference Award.] And yet, clearly, we are making a difference, if only one person, one mind, one perspective, one vote, at a time.
One more person thinking. One more person questioning. One more person getting involved in community.
We are reminded of the story of the little girl standing on a beach amidst hundreds of washed up starfish. A passerby sees her throwing one of the starfish back into the sea and asks, "What are you doing?"
"I'm saving the life of this starfish," replied the little girl.
"But there are so many starfish washed up on the sand," retorted the passerby. "Surely, tossing one of them back in the water won't make a difference."
Picking up another starfish and gently lofting it into the waves, the little girl responded, "Well, it made a difference to that one!"
Yes. we're irreverant -- downright over-the-top, at times -- but would you be paying attention otherwise?
No, this isn't journalism (not even yellow). We are more National Lampoon than Wall Street Journal. Want news -- or at least editorial passing itself off as objective reporting? Pick up your local paper (or all of them, as we do). Want to make a difference in your hometown? Then start by reading these blog posts, and pass the message along that each of us, in his or her own way, can contribute to the many causes of community.
Imagine what a difference we all could make if only we were all engaged in the day-to-day life of community.
An elected official, upon reading one of our more lighthearted (if not off-the-wall) missives, commented, "You have way too much time on your hands!"
As we see it, we have way too little time.
As our quality of life slips into the abyss, taxes continue to stream into the stratosphere, our children move away because they can no longer afford to live here, we wonder just what legacy, if any, we, as community advocates and activists, will leave for the next generation of Long Islanders.
At The Community Alliance, we believe that, despite the drawbacks of inefficient and ineffective government -- local and otherwise -- and the apparent malaise of the populace, the outlook for the future is bright, and the promise of tomorrow remains for us to fulfill.
When the last blog is written and posted, left to the annals of cyberspace should some Googler of tomorrow chance upon it, let them say that those who saw community as their mission -- who embraced it as their passion -- made a difference; that our suburban way of life is just a little bit better, and that much sweeter, because of those who dared to speak out, take a stand, and stay involved.
Yes, community is our passion. Dare to make it yours!