September 10, 2008

The Difference Is in What We Love

Justin Katz

Most workday mornings (especially if everybody in the house slept through the night), my drive over the Sakonnet River Bridge brings a wave of gratitude for the sights that fill my days. Similarly, the breeze off the water, whether warm or cool, as I cross the parking lot to church come a Sunday morning makes it that much easier to understand that life per se is a blessing, and life in Rhode Island, in Tiverton, serves to emphasize that fact.

I describe these sensations because those who love Rhode Island from an ideological cocoon (often receiving sustenance and livelihood in some degree from its corrupt civic culture) tend to go straight for the smear that reformers despise the place that they are attempting to improve and the people whom they are attempting to enlighten. Such was the case when one artist of aspersion, Patrick Crowley, the Assistant Executive Director of National Education Association Rhode Island, called me "the lead spokesman for 'I Hate Rhode Islanders'" in the Providence Journal back in January. And such is the rhetoric simmering behind the lips of those who would scald Tiverton Citizens for Change.

Nobody devoting hours to the cause of improving the place in which he or she lives "hates" that place. Such crusaders may be wrong. They may be right, although too eager. But differences of opinion at the local level indicate, at their most profound, that the disputants merely love different things about their home towns.

So, while I can't speak to the motivation of everybody who has expressed a desire for lower taxes and a less suffocating public sector, I can offer two examples of moments that leave me unable just to let Tiverton, and Rhode Island, be as they are. One (the obvious) comes as an echo to an envelope ripped open annually in the kitchen, bringing knowledge that a flat-rate mortgage is no protection against the town government's demands for more of homeowners' slender budgets. Ordering our household finances as carefully as we may is no charm against our representatives' promising our taxes for things we cannot afford.

The other example comes when I'm driving around the area on some errand and get a glimpse of the intriguing character of our surroundings. That geographic personality is an attribute that I lack the time and resources to explore, and its tantalizing, unattainable proximity directly affects citizens' quality of life. For too many of us, this town and state provide a setting for survival, not opportunity. For passing wistfulness, not sustained enjoyment. Yet, those who believe that the reins of power are theirs by right resent our refusal to accept legislated and negotiated largess as part of the inviolable scenery.

I don't know what sort of sensation will greet me with the evening wind outside the VFW hall on Shove St., Tiverton, after the first public TCC meeting, next Monday (the 15th), but I'm certain of the chance that it will contain hope, and he whose hope is nourished has much to love.

Comments, although monitored, are not necessarily representative of the views Anchor Rising's contributors or approved by them. We reserve the right to delete or modify comments for any reason.

Taxpayer associations are the beginning of groundswells. Look at how the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association has transformed California politics over the last 3 decades.

Posted by: MIke at September 10, 2008 8:17 AM

"Taxpayers associations"??? Hmmm........sounds like "community organizers" to me. Don't let McCain/Palin know. They don't think highly of community organizers.

Posted by: McMooseburger at September 10, 2008 9:07 PM

The difference between taxpayer associations and community organizers? The flow of money...One group wants theirs back while the other wants to loot more.

Posted by: Matt Allen at September 10, 2008 11:00 PM

McMooseburger, they like community organizers fine. They just don't think it's necessarily the ideal experience to become POTUS especially, as Matt Allen pointed out, because the position involves the formulation of budgets to expend taxpayers' hard earned money.

Posted by: Monique at September 11, 2008 12:25 AM

GWB formulates complex budgets? That's laughable.

Posted by: McMoosburger at September 11, 2008 9:18 AM

Does anyone think that Carcieri is qualified to be President after his oh-so successful reign as Chief F$#*-Up here in Rhodey?

Posted by: Greg at September 11, 2008 9:42 AM


Let's be fair ...The Don has received quite an assist from the Public Employee Union's / Poverty Pimp's wholly owned subsidiary, the General Assembly.

You have to admit, it's an uphill battle when you've got an army of Bob Walshes hanging around the Statehouse proposing hairbrain ideas like "selling" "equity" in the Lottery and convincing herds of mindless tee-shirt wearing sheep that they are Entitled to which we can NOT afford.

Worse, Chairman Mao even gets an assist himself once in a while from influential people that tell him his "assumptions" are workable, realistic and fair.

Wouldn't you agree, Greg?

Posted by: George Elbow at September 11, 2008 8:31 PM
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