It saddens me that our city with all its challenges, has had much of its political ‘juice’ sucked out and spilt on the ground over absolutely absurd efforts. Many citizens, instead of being concerned over the increasingly devastating state of Plum Island, over the demolition of our national treasures in the Newburyport Historic District, over the school system constantly being in the red, our sorry and disheveled infrastructure (besides sidewalks, the fact that Verizon won’t give us Fios), our miserable way of maintenance, our diminished tourism industry and constant threats by huge developers like Minco to literally destroy the look and feel of our community; they’re energies are ‘elsewhere’.
Instead of preserving our high quality of life and making sure Newburyport is a safe and economically feasible place to live; we have them instead delving into loony causes that solve nothing.
One of the major demographic changes in our city has been the influx of the Children of the Now and of the extreme left. We’ve always had them but now they constitute the majority of our citizens. I’ve gone on for blog and blog about the NOW crowd and have tried to ignore the extreme left, mainly because they do have a heightened sense of aesthetics and are very concerned about the environment and keeping us at a high quality of life. Much good has come of it, as more stress has been placed upon historic preservation of architecture and streetscapes. It’s been good for our environment as recycling has been championed and the push for preservation of open spaces with wetlands and wildlife.
But unfortunately, with the left, it’s all about presumed guilt and alleviating that guilt by doing silly things that make them “feel good” but don’t actually have a measurable result.
It’s this wackiness element that brought about the plastic bag ordinance. Inconveniencing our elderly population and our grocers, it all stems on the evils of a plastic bag flapping in a bush. I as a conservationist will stumble over piles of trash and jump over a polluted stream just so I can reach for that plastic banner; but for what purpose? Newburyport is a destination city, a huge influx of thousands will be carrying in plastic bags and the uneducated will throw these out into the Common Pasture. Stopping them in one or two grocery stores is the height of hubris!
It’s okay now because we all feel good but how can you measure if the ordinance did any good?
Now it’s fluoridation! The John Birch Society, an ultra-right conservative group made a huge deal about fluoridation in the late 60’s with talk of mind-control and brainwashing. In fact, in the movie Dr. Strangelove, Peter Sellers made a point of mocking their efforts. But Lo! Now we’ve got them on the left now fighting it. Seems like the debate has gone full circle!
The City Council is now getting the message that this is only the second wacky push, many more will come! What will be next? Banning plastic bottles, banning super-sized cups at our local fast-food vendors, banning soda in town? Then will come PC-speech vendettas against businesses and people and churches and hate-crime vendetta’s over various topics and people, all depending on what is popular on the left. Won’t be long before we’ll have organized protest movements and boycotts of businesses and organizations. All we have to do is look at other towns and cities in America to know what is in store for us.
I applaud the City Council for making the right decision. I know the councilors who voted in favor of putting the fluoridation to the vote just wanted democracy to have its way.
But instead of all the tough issues that Newburyport will be facing this election year, we’ll instead have neighbors against neighbors, people against businesses over,
“Precious Bodily Fluids”