Home Commentary Open forum Harmony is Possible

Harmony is Possible


Dear Sister/Brother St. Johnians,
The past two weeks have been trying times for all of us. I have attempted to spend most of that time listening to what others have to say and trying to come to grips with what is really going on here.
First and foremost, No One should ever be beaten or raped–there is no excuse for either crime under any circumstances. Rape by a stranger is no "better" or "worse" than rape by a relative or friend as innocence is lost in either case.
All Americans of every color are innocent until proven guilty and No One should ever be convicted by vigilantes. This is not the way our civilized society operates.
This situation has served to bring out many levels of frustration that truly need to be addressed. It is my conclusion that the first step towards healing will be to begin, as individuals and as a community, by examining our hearts about the many issues we currently face.
Racism–We see and hear about racism fairly often. How do I contribute to it? Do I sit in silence when racist comments are made or actions taken; or do I stand up and denounce it? Do I allow disparity in the way people are treated, or do I stand up for their rights as fellow human beings?
Crime–Do I turn my back and walk away instead of demanding that my appointed and elected officials do their job and take crime seriously no matter what kind of person may have been involved? How is it that so many crimes appear to be virtually ignored by a "busy" police force or an inaccurately written report or log? Why is there a complete sense of mistrust of the police across the board? Is it because we never see results? Isn't it time to come together as a community to force a cleanup of the system?
Over development–Our infrastructure is already overburdened with our current size–as evidenced by more and more frequent power outages, poor phone service, lack of recycling, outdated sewage and water systems. How will we possibly sustain all the new buildings and the people that they will house? Again–how do I contribute to the problem? Do I attend meetings to air my views about new development? Do I pay attention when people want zoning changes, and do I pay attention to what the full result of that decision might be? Do I know of or condone bribery among those in positions of power (who are supposed to be protecting the laws and our island) in exchange for votes that will be to the detriment of the community?
Socio-Economic Disparity–Clearly a gap exists between the "haves" and the "have-nots" (and now the "have-more-than-can-even-be- imagineds"). I wish I knew how to truly address this issue. It is time to think outside of the box: tax credits for full time island residents, some method to be sure that St. John gets its fair share of the tax pie to improve the schools and upgrade the infrastructure. It is time to look at how the system protects the overly wealthy and ignores the poor. For a country as wealthy as the U.S., there is no excuse for anyone to be living in poverty! Perhaps our little island can find a way to begin rectifying the situation on the small scale as a beginning?
Materialsim–One of the things that I have always loved about living here has been the apparent lack of "keeping up with the neighbors" where when one person gets a new "toy" and then everyone else feels the need to own one too. This is changing on our island as TV, magazines and videos spread the idea that "I am what I own". Are we really so busy trying to accumulate wealth and possessions that we have lost the value of the peace and quiet and beauty of our island? Is what I have (or don't) the indication of my worth as a person? How can we re-instill the values that we really want to carry forward in ourselves, in our children and in our community?
I am sure that there are more issues that will come forward in the months ahead that require our attention, but it seems to me that we must return to the Golden Rule. We can examine ourselves and ask:
Do my day-to-day actions come from the heart? Do I treat all people consistently with dignity and respect? Do I show concern for my fellow beings and give that equal importance to my concern for myself?
Finally, I think that each one of us could pick one or two issues that we feel are the most interesting and begin to take action. If we act, we may be able to salvage "Love City"; if we sit back and wait, we are surely setting up the next horrid set of circumstances that may tear us apart forever. I do believe that we have the power to make good and harmonious choices that will make our island even better than we remember!
Lisa Durgin
St. John

Editor's note: We welcome and encourage readers to keep the dialogue going by responding to Source commentary. Letters should be e-mailed with name and place of residence to[email protected]


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here