A quick Google search for the definition of community will leave you pretty empty.
“A group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common.”
— Google Dictionary
How inspiring. A group of people living in the same place. A community is even more than having a particular characteristic in common and we all know that. When we act as a community, you will see unlikely relationships form. Strange bedfellows. Selflessness. Sacrifice. Brotherhood. Neighbors shoveling neighbors sidewalks. Neighbors mowing neighbors grass, without being asked, because they are invested enough to know that they could use the help.
“Communities are not built of friends, or of groups with similar styles and tastes, or even of people who like and understand each other. They are built of people who feel they are part of something that is bigger than themselves: a shared goal or enterprise, like righting a wrong, or building a road, or raising children, or living honorably, or worshipping a god. To build community requires only the ability to see value in others, to look at them and see a potential partner in one’s enterprise.”
— Suzanne Goldsmith
So when the question during last years debate was asked (3:55): "... we own a rental property in Greenville. I would like to know something you have that is [inaudible due to a sneeze] idea, um, the distressed areas in this town are getting more distressed as property owners, anybody who owns a rental property, you know we're just being, its like more and more is dumped on us all the time, we keep our property really nice, there's a lot of people who own properties that don't keep them anywhere near as nice as we do and yet the neighborhood is going to pot. Give me some ideas of something, something that can be done, not something pie in the sky, what can be done to salvage this town?"
The landlord went on to give examples such as empty houses or houses with junk on the porch. What were the suggestions from the candidates? Code enforcement, code enforcement, code enforcement. Call code enforcement on your neighbors! I wasn't having any of it. I chime in at 11:35.
Community was Greenville's strength, its crown jewel. But it is something that needs to be exercised. We are losing community a little bit every day. We can blame technology, we can blame drugs and t.v.
However, it will take a personal commitment to being a valuable and active part of the community if we are ever going to reverse the trend. You can't expect it from anyone but yourself. Learn how to engage here.
What will set Greenville apart? If it's not community, what is it?