It’s been a chaotic week for me & Citizen Solutions. City Council approved a budget that was technically ‘balanced’, but lacking in the specificity of cuts to be made. The COO, Steve Lewis, will have the additional job of finding ways to cut $600,000. Oh, and let us not forget that the City ‘found’ about $4.2 million in another account that was transferred to the City’s general fund. If that hadn’t happened, then we’d see a budget deficit of almost $6 million…pathetic, and we have no one else to blame but ourselves. Our collective inaction (only 20% of the registered voters turn-out for elections) enables councils all over the country to throw-up their hands and listen to the business interests who are advocating for their self-interests (exercising their rights in a ‘free market’ economy). When this occurs, money gets spent on projects that are unneeded, poorly conceived, or outright stupid. Shame on me for denying them my insights & sensibilities.
The city is now in a position such that it needs to raise revenue and one part of doing so is by instituting tougher monitoring of ‘Code’ violations. I’ve already felt the effects. How? By receiving notices from the City that the botanical life (Trees, grasses, & weeds) growing at 1400 Garfield Ave. had exceeded the allowed height (12″). i can’t type the true sense of indignation that I felt on receiving the notice. To think that everything I’m doing to create a model for ‘saving suburbia’ is viewed as an infringement upon the City’s aesthetic code is preposterous. It’s indicative of a municipal psychosis and is a cruel encroachment into our rights as residents & property owners. Before anyone tries to educate me about property values and neighborly solidarity, let me briefly note that ‘property value’ is based on home-buyer willingness to purchase. If a prospective home buyer’s sensibilities are so superficial that they’re turned-off when they see a house whose outside appearance is unkempt, but belies a methodical & measured approach to addressing the greatest problem that has ever affected this country, then it’s their responsibility to change their sensibilities-not the homeowner’s.
It’s even more amazing to discover that it’s a city ordinance derived from a state statue! Tell me that’s not insanely psychotic?
We know, that in the real world, there is a finite supply of Oil, and it’s derivatives, but we want to require, not recommend, but REQUIRE Oklahomans to use the last bit of oil from under our soil to keep our yards ‘pretty’. That’s simply an insane form of inter-generational theft and battery. How so? Well, for every iota of fossil fuels that are consumed w/out regard for the future generation, then the opportunities for those future generations is limited by that same amount. Now, some uses are justifiable; the energy to cook food, or filter water, for example. However, what’s the justification for ‘racing to a red light’, or driving a truck that’s 2′ above the ground? These are petty & foolish examples of wastefulness that I don’t think people even realize b/c they’re so well conditioned to a cheap-energy world.
‘Going Green’ isn’t just a marketing fad, it’s a style of living to which we should all be adherents. In fact, ‘going green’, shouldn’t even be a foreign term to us, it should just be the way life is.
When I’ve confronted people about this, they tend to have a sheepish response that implies their acknowledgement of the criticism’s validity, but also hides a small amount of animus directed at me for having directed our attention to their failings. Generally speaking, people don’t like those who criticize their imperfections, but I however, seek-out those judges b/c they can help me get closer to ‘perfect’.
Norman is uniquely situated to set an example that can be used as a template for every other city in Suburbia, USA. The University, City, & School Systems can collaborate and coordinate a policy implementation that that can leverage the utility of our key resource, soil, while minimizing the Energy needed for its development.
Once upon a time, Oklahomans lived through the dust bowl and Great Depression as subsistence farmers. They canned everything that was harvested for the winter, started seedlings as early as possible, cared for livestock, and cared about life skills. That was my Grandmother’s generation. Those are the people who were most dedicated to sacrifice & learning from their mistakes. Why? b/c their lives depended on their success. What happened after it was discovered that their farming techniques were the reason for the Dust Bowl? The country began to fix the land that it had ruined. The gov’t began putting together programs that provided employment for laborers and engineers. The Works Progress Administration (WPA) & the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) were created with the intention of staving off the effects of the Depression and providing some means by which to address the devastation of the ‘Roaring ’20’s and its irrational excess.
That was nearly 100 years ago, but despite all of our discoveries in genetics, plastics, production, transistors, telecommunications, biochemistry, & astrophysics, we still make the same mistakes made by the people back then.
The history of our country is ‘rich & poor’. Just like its people; we’re all some gradient of ‘melanin-rich’ & ‘melanin-poor’. However, the fundamental qualities that define the morality of a society go unobserved, so long as a country’s people are cozy & satisfied to the point of ‘ennui’. For those to whom ‘ennui’ is a foreign word, you’re correct. ‘Ennui’ is a French word that’s frequently used by writers & aspiring intellectuals (perhaps even myself?) to express the sense of ‘boredom’ that one feels from having become fulfilled and thus undesirous of action. That’s much how I see our current culture and its constituent citizenry. They’re cozy, comfortable, energy expenders, and I find their chosen-ignorance to be cowardly & w/out defense. I don’t think they’re all evil, and in most cases, they’re simply too weak, too pampered, or too ignorant to understand the challenge. I despise those qualities when I observe them in myself and I feel justified in criticizing others when I see them in them. We have to look at the problems, acknowledge that the legislation to shift market forces are artificial, and make the changes that will actually have a positive impact on the future generations of Oklahomans who will inherit the world we leave behind.
There’s nothing wrong helping someone break out of their ‘ennui’, in fact I think it’s a moral act & ethical responsibility for anyone trying to break free from their own.
Thanks for reading. #BestSelves