Friday, April 29, 2011

A Royal Pain In The Butt

I'll admit I watched a part of the Royal Wedding this morning.......15 seconds of it because I clicked a link that I didn't want to.  There was no way I was going to rise an hour earlier than I already do to watch an event that has absolutely no significance for me other than it's a nice thing for a couple to pledge their allegiance to one another for the rest of their lives.  Then again for the English Monarchy we know about how well that works.

I asked a few people what the big deal was since I did not see the reason for all the hype and one of the answers I got was, "It's history."  No it's not.  History is a life altering event within the infrastructure of a country or world that forever changes how we perceive things and how we react to them.  This is a wedding, and while it's a happy and joyous occasion for the couple and their friends and family, it will not cause a wrinkle in many people's days for years to come.

While reading the updates and wall posts on Facebook today I also came across someone indignant over some of the negativity of a few people.  The person said that the last time we had something like this was when Diana died and that it was such a happy occasion we should be rejoicing.  I found the irony of this statement quite funny.  Why and how did Diana die?  The paparazzi were chasing her in a car because ordinary people can't seem to keep their noses out of public people's lives.  Yes, I understand that if one becomes a politician, actor/actress, public speaker and the like you have opened that can of worms, but there are just some things we don't need to know, nor do I want to for some things.  So for all intents and purposes we nosy Nellies killed Diana with our ever growing obsession with people in the public eye.  Yet people got up at 4AM, are having wedding parties, and talking incessantly about the "new" royal couple, who has had and will continue to have the public crawling into their bedroom just to get a glimpse into a life that when you take away all the flash is not all it's cracked up to be.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Always A Rebel

"We're from Columbine couldn't be prouder and if you can't hear us we'll yell a little louder!"  This is a chant that I heard at many football games during my three years at Columbine.  For so long it when you mentioned you went to Columbine people looked at you like you were the luckiest person in the world......twelve years ago that look morphed into pain and surprise.  Twelve years ago two young men decided that they had been bullied beyond repair and that they were going to seek retribution for the wrongs they felt had been done to them.  Were they both a bit unbalanced?  Most definitely.  Was the bullying out of control?  No more so than for any other students.  Was this act of terrorism necessary?  In some forms it was.  Not that lives were lost and hearts were shattered, but for the very fact that on that day people came together, friendships were renewed and we became aware that it could happen in our own backyard.

I did not grow up in the Littleton School District like a lot of the kids I wound up attending high school with.  In fact I spent most of my life in the Norristown School District up until ninth grade.  We moved to Colorado in 1980.  We drove across country right after my mother was declared healthy enough to make the trip (she had had a heart attack three weeks prior) and we arrived two days before my 15th birthday.  My parents had finally found a house, but we could not go to settlement until July so we spent June in a hotel.  When we eventually got to move into the house I was told that I was going to be attending Columbine, a year round school.  Ummmm excuse me, year round?  That meant that I would be in school all year with breaks in between.  Because I was a new comer I was assigned to track "B", which meant my vacations were from the beginning of April to the beginning of June and October to December.  I was not too sure of this whole set up, but was willing to give it a try.  Honestly, it was the best experience of my life.  Not just because of the people I met, but because my education was well rounded, I had not burned out and lost a lot of momentum during the summer and I was really prepared to enter college.  Many times I have regretted that schools here in PA are not willing to give the concept a try when classroom sizes become a problem and teacher burn out escalates.

I was always proud of my diploma from Columbine and the accomplishments that I have achieved there, but on this day in 1999 that security that I had lived with was shattered.  Two young men decided that they had the right to enter the building with guns blazing and bombs planted to seek retribution for what they saw were egregious wrongs done to them.  My boys were three at the time and did not understand what mommy had suddenly started crying while listening to the news.  But there is always a silver lining for every tragedy, some we can't see and others are as plain as the nose on our faces.  Alumni that hadn't spoken in years reconnected, people scattered across the country came together through the wonders of the Internet and friendships were reformed.  We cried together, we railed at the injustice of a lives cut short and we made it known that even though it happened in our backyard we were going to do everything it took to not have it happen again to our kids.

Today my heart is heavy as I remember what was taken from all of us...a simple thought, "Not in my home, not in my town, not in my school." But what we gained was so much more than that and the tears will dry tomorrow and I can say once more I am a Columbine Rebel, Class of 1984.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

So Tell Me What You're Hiding

During yet another D'town Borough Council Meeting the Sunshine Act was brought up again, and I have to tell you I am a bit tired of the whole thing.  The funny thing is I agree with Ann Feldman.  It all started back when Johnsontown Community Group was asking for Council to help, approve or change an ordinance that would allow one car parking permit per household on East Church Street.  One small request and a whole hullabaloo was started.  Some of the problem stemmed from the fact that some people on the Parking Committee were not pleased that we had figured out a solution to the problem ourselves as a community without their official input.  Good heavens not that!  Not a community that can band together and actually solve their own problems!  After a disastrous discussion at the presentation of the solution to council because no one wanted to stand up and say, "Yes this street is unique and we need to address this issue." our group asked if the Parking Committee held open meetings.  Boy the firestorm that has started!  I don't believe that a council meeting has gone by that it has not been revisited since.  I believe the sticking point happens to be, is that there are some on that particular committee that would like it to be a private fiefdom where no mere mortal shall enter and the second problem is that Ann Feldman has brought the Sunshine Act to the forefront and has pursued whether committee meetings should be open to the public or not.  I sat in one particular meeting and listened as council members tried to do an end run around it and suggested that the committee now be made an internal agency just so they did not have to face the fact that not only do they have to advertise the meetings, but they must be public.

What I'd like to know is what is being hidden that this has become such a HUGE issue.  I would also like to know why good people are throwing common courtesy out the window just because Ann Feldman is trying to hold our little government to the standards that have been set forth.  I am afraid that if Ann yelled "FIRE" and meant it it would be ignored just because people have a bee in their bonnet about her stance on Kardon Park and the East Caln parcel.  News flash I feel she is way off base on those issues?  Oh yeah!  Does the fact that she tends to nit pick EVERY issue get on my nerves at times?  Good gravy yes, but for the good of Downingtown get over yourselves people.  When someone has a good idea swallow your pride and give them the due they should get.  That and the unprofessional and unbecoming attitudes of some of the people we are counting on to represent ALL of us......I have to say I cringe at the tone of voice that I have heard from various individuals. 

Just because I like a certain politician does not mean that I will agree with that person on every issue.  The same is true in reverse......just because I feel that someone is not whom I would vote for, but the people have placed in office does not mean that once in awhile that person will not come up with a good idea.  Personally while I will fight Ann tooth and nail on development that will enhance any part of Downingtown, in my eyes, that she is against does not mean that I will not work with her on an issue we agree on and I think it is about time that council and other employees of the borough, committee members and other volunteers need to suck it up and put forth a more professional attitude.