Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Memorial Day

Because today is Memorial Day, I've decided to write a letter to my ancestors, and ask them for advice on something,

Dear Ancestors:

I can remember when Chapel Hill was a place where people lived without fear.
Doors were never locked. Cars would be parked on the street with windows down on summer days. Bicycles were simply leaned against something when its owner went into a store. Wherever something was placed was where it was likely to be when looked for again. Parents were always sure their teenaged offspring would arrive home safely on their own, or would call if they needed a ride.
We used to hitchhike a lot.
No one was ever afraid of anyone.

This was the Chapel Hill that I discovered in 1970.
I was a 15 year old boy from Washington, DC.
I grew up where people were afraid of each other.
I fell in love with Chapel Hill at first sight.

Now I'm afraid to count how many years ago that was, but it's easy to count. My question is;
What happened?

Now if I can get an answer to that one, I'd like to ask another question, if I may.
What can I, as an individual, do about it?

Signed -- Wild Bill

Well, it wasn't until the wee hours of the next morning when the reply came back, and here it is.

Dear Bill:

We appreciate when you folks who are still living remember us.
Remember that we as a civilization have always made progress by adapting to changes. Change is inevitable.

The fact that a small North Carolina town can go from Mayberry to Gotham City in the course of a lifetime is indeed a disturbing sign of the times.

What you, as an individual, can do is always the same as what we, as a people, can do. And that is;
We can make choices.

We can choose to gripe and complain that nothing is the way it used to be, or we can choose to learn how to live in the world we have today.
Those who fear change go senile long before they die.
He not busy being born is busy dying.

When the world you live in goes into a direction you don't like, you might try calling attention to it. There's always the chance someone else will see it too, and respond to you.

While there are many terrible and frightening things in the 21st Century that we didn't have before, we can also use modern technology to our advantage. Blogging is a tool you have that we did not. Just having a newspaper was a major accomplishment for any human civilization. Think of the advances we've made since the printing press.

There are always a majority of people who see things going on that they don't understand, and so are afraid to mention them. When someone else says, "I see it too!" it assures us that we are not having a delusion. Get enough people talking about what needs to be fixed. and it's more likely to get fixed. Communication has always been humanity's greatest ally.
See if you can make it work for you.

Remember the little boy in "The Emperor's New Clothes"? Mention something you see, (or don't see) and maybe others will have the confidence to see it too.

Humans work like that, you know?
We can't help it. We are a social creature. It's in our nature. Modern technology cannot take that away from us, but it can provide us with another way to communicate.

"Stop, Hey! What's that sound? Everybody look what's going down!"
You get the idea.

Whenever you do cross over to the other side to join us, we'd like for you to tell us how it worked.

Signed -- Rolling in our graves

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