Just An Observation: Civility only occurs when NIMBY goes away

More often these days, decency and respect for others are as prevelent as dinosaurs

Just wondering, but when did respect, civility and common sense in dealing with others take a nose dive in society?

Having covered a variety of rather contentious meetings over the years, it’s become quite apparent in the last four or five that a growing majority of people want only their voice, their opinion or their view of the world to be heard.

Sure, there are definitely times when opinions need to be voiced — such as when feelings of injustice are present, legitimate concerns need to be expressed or if a blunt explanation is necessary.

Unfortunately, it seems as of late that the ‘me’ attitude has gotten a large grip on some and whether it’s about pipelines, bad drivers or a land use change, many people don’t seem to care who they push, pull, trample or destroy in order to have their voice trump all others.

Decorum — behaviour in keeping with good taste; behaviour that is controlled, calm and polite — is still present though not used as often, especially at public meetings these days.

Tossing out baseless accusations with no evidence, trashing other people simply because of a differing opinion on a topic, taking every comment as a personal attack if it isn’t for what they want, attempting to shout down or interrupting those speaking just because they don’t like what’s being said and deride all other thoughts and voices not in favour of their side as uneducated or bias.

I’ve seen these very things occur recently and much of it smacks of an attitude that is not only terribly self-centred, but also extremely limiting on society advancing forward — NIMBY.

For those that don’t know, Not In My BackYard (NIMBY) is the not so quiet show put on by individuals that either don’t want or can’t accept change.

NIMBY has been on full display for most of 2018 in and around Ponoka — the continuing fight over the potential for development of industrial and commercial property along Highway 2 near Morningside plus the over-heated, and sometimes downright nasty, battle over land usage restrictions northwest of Ponoka being just two of those topics.

While one can understand evidence-based, factual arguments and concerns, or even a really good debate on the pros and cons of the situation, the issues I’ve followed have been devoid of such consideration.

All I’ve laid witness to has been people calling others names, anecdotal disputes, confrontational posturing, distorting information, scare tactics, outright slander or libel and simple stubbornness.

And just what has all of this created?

It’s simple — division of neighbours that likely have co-existed cordially for years, suspicion of others motives and contempt for the values of individuals among other things.

Fixable?

Locally, the situations may well quiet down as time goes on.

However, that is if people are willing to let sleeping dogs lie, which may take many years considering the animosity expressed toward one land owner during a recent land use public hearing along with another local lobby effort’s information request regarding a recently approved area structure plan.

That being said, these issues expand well beyond this area, spanning the country and even to global society, it could be argued.

And there-in lies the crux of the situation — everyone decries how there seems to be no peace or safety left and that the only way out is to vehemently protect their small piece of this planet using any method possible.

Yet, this same society voices how it abhors the hatred, the violence, the selfishness and the divisiveness that is present on a daily basis.

Is this fixable? Possibly, but it will take a far greater power than individual citizens can muster, but it sure wouldn’t hurt if we could start one person at a time.

But that is…just an observation.

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