A letter from The 9/27/18 edition of The Gazette....for your consideration.
ABOUT CROTON ANGER...CIVILITY...LEAF BLOWERS....AND MORE
To the editor:
A day in Croton last week began with a street dispute that led one shopper to question whether she should find a different salon and avoid patronizing Croton businesses so as to avoid having to deal with Croton anger. The day ended with an online dispute about leaf blowers that led one resident to say to a resident who disagreed with her: “[Y]ou are friends with my friends and you challenge me? Nice! Good night!”
The morning dispute got much less attention than the evening dispute, and there is a lesson there. The petty bickering that used to pass quickly between a handful of people is now a community-wide affair memorialized forever online.
In both cases, the type of disagreement which would in a prior time have remained at a level of polite discourse instead became escalated. Most troubling is the belief that you cannot have a difference of viewpoint between 2 neighbors of good will.
There have always been such disputes, and sometimes quite passionate. Just a few generations ago, the war in Vietnam and civil rights issues divided families. It is true that many people find Donald Trump and leafblowers to fall into the same sphere as teenagers drafted and sent off to get killed in a foreign jungle or peaceful citizens getting brutally beaten in Selma, but I don’t agree.
We need to stop making everything political. In 2013, Pajama Boy told us to grab a cup of Christmas cocoa and lecture our family about health insurance as they gathered around the tree to unwrap presents. We progressed in 2016 to de-friending online friends and cutting off contact with neighbors of differing political views. In 2018 siblings are not merely disagreeing over politics, they are doing political commercials for the candidate running against their own brother.
I don’t like leafblowers. I have never understood the point of blowing leaves rather than letting them decompose, and I especially don’t understand why people such as the Village of Croton landscapers blow leaves from the sidewalk alongside the Municipal Building into the middle of Old Post Road.
But some of my neighbors disagree, and so long as they don’t blow their leaves into the street or use their leafblower before the birds are even awake, I am willing to “leaf” well enough alone. I believe those neighbors to be wrong, but we get along well and I don’t regard their use of a leafblower as a moral failing. More importantly, I don’t demand that my friends shun the leafblowing neighbors.
Communities get reputations, and damaged reputations can take decades to repair. Croton is already the subject of ribbing by our surrounding communities. We have had a high-profile meltdown over a few flyers put up in the dark of night by some social misfit. We are in the middle of a series of public shaming sessions of our largest private employer because Croton chose to ram legislation down the throats of residents rather than try to build consensus and find a compromise. We anger neighboring communities with illegal “No Thru Traffic” signs. We pass meaningless resolutions in support of legislation in Albany and Washington, including anti-police legislation.
Everyone says that Croton is a small village. We should start acting like neighbors. There is nothing wrong with disagreement on issues. There is a lot wrong with driving shoppers out of our village, telling people that they are no longer our friend unless they shun people who use leafblowers, and being nasty at Village Board of Trustee meetings (both from the dais and from the audience) when people express a minority viewpoint.
--Paul Steinberg, Croton-on-Hudson
I work in Montrose and used to stop in Croton for a beer but made the mistake of doing so twice when there was some postcard signing-resistance event. There wasn't a third time for me. You should have seen the look I got when I said I wasn't interested in politics.ReplyDelete
Let's launch an FBI investigation re: leafblowingReplyDelete
Ha! I just wanted to thank Paul Stienberg for his letters, especially this one. I have seen too many exchanges lately that have been blasted all over the papers, television and on a facebook page especially that have made me wonder what's going on.Delete
I never go to certain places in the village. I'm not spending what little extra money we have to be aggravated with constant politics. Newsflash to service and food establishments: control your staff from verbalizing their political opinions.ReplyDelete
Thank you to the editor for sharing Paul's letter. He is highly intelligent and an excellent writer. I never read the gazette but I'm thankful you post these thoughtful and reflective letters here. I seriously can't agree with Paul more and hate does have a home in Croton. In fact it's well rooted here. If you think differently and ask questions that the left does not like you are ostracized. I hope and pray this changes.ReplyDelete
I have a leaf blower with a special attachment and sack that vacuums up the leaves, chops them up and if I want I can turn it into compost too. My neighbors STILL COMPLAINED because of the carbon footprint, which apparently goes away magically if I chop the leaves up with the lawn mower instead. These people need to get lives and STOP telling other people how to save the environment. The neighbor might want to have less children as well, she is on number four, and use only one car, not two.ReplyDelete
We also skip all businesses, even our favorites, when they have signs in their windows that cater to the latest political mob feeding frenzy. Maybe that's not right but we refuse to SPEND MONEY for aggravation.
Haven't been to the village library either. Got a real problem with too much political talk and events. We go to HH instead.ReplyDelete
While I get lectured about plastic bags, the family down the street has three children, all with the latest smartphones, including the parents, three cars, a lawn company that comes in every two weeks with the hated carbon spewing blowers, they all have their own computers, it goes on. Silly silly.ReplyDelete
And did I mention I spotted their names on the petition to ban bags! Not a clue.Delete
NEW PEOPLE IN TOWN complained about my leaf blower yesterday. I complained about their THIRD BABY and all the throw away diapers. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!ReplyDelete