Wednesday, January 31, 2007

All Politics is Local

There is a group of homeowners in our subdivision that are understandably upset about a new development that is going in next to their properties. Right now the land in question is heavily wooded with a creek running trough it. It’s quite beautiful and surely adds to the esthetics of living there. Now, a developer wants to com in and put up a new housing subdivision. This will mean a lot of those trees are going to go away and instead of having a nice patch of woods just beyond their property, there will now be someone else’s backyard.

I understand the concern and disappointment these people are feeling; I’ve long been jealous of their situation next to that undeveloped land. However, it is private land and I, and I’m sure they, also knew that it could wind up being built upon someday.

Still, the residents adjacent to this land have organized and plan to oppose its development. That’s all well and good and certainly within their rights. I wish them well as I’d like to see the land undeveloped too but I’m not holding my breath and don’t think the “because we like the view” argument is going to hold much water.

One aspect of this does intrigue me though. The leader of this group happens to be involved in the politics of a political party that otherwise routinely sneers at environmentalists (you know, “treehuggers”) and environmentalism. This political party also opposes most governmental regulation that would impede the very development that is taking place next to our subdivision. Now, I have no idea what the specific environmental views are of this gentleman (who I know and like) but due to his association with his political party I suspect he hasn’t been all that concerned with preserving wilderness until now. But who knows maybe I’m wrong .

I have noticed though, that members of this political party often “get religion” on an issue when it affects them directly. I’ve seen a number of conservatives in Congress become advocates for research into this or that disease because they have been directly impacted by it in some way. Yet they would be the first to cast a No vote for research into another disease.

Here I think we have a similar situation where if this patch of woods were in another part of town, many of these people wouldn’t care a bit and might even oppose, in principle, anyone trying to block a development that otherwise might be good for the city. If everyone acts only in their own self-interest, everyone loses.

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