As at least one vigilant person noticed, this blog turned 10 years old a few days ago. Life precluded writing a post before today, and so writing a post this morning was the plan, but with the events of the past several days, this is likely the post that needs to be written right now.
Ten years is a long time to be at anything. And its especially poignant because there won't be an eleventh blogaversary. As previously written, this blog will end in December. There are exciting plans in place to kick off the next phase, but an announcement or mention of that feels inappropriate right now. So I'll delay that.
As to the news of the day. I couldn't be more heartsick than how I am right now about Ellicott City. Not even two years later the historic downtown is again devastated by flood. Watching the County Executive's update just minutes ago, we learn that there is a person missing. Let's hope this is the case of someone being unable to check in with friends and loved ones, and not loss of life.
Of course there has been massive loss of property, and in the form of the original Howard County courthouse building, at least one historic structure that can never be replaced. Maybe even moreso than the flood two years ago, this event, I suspect, will change Ellicott City forever? In what ways? Feel free to comment and share your thoughts. Expression is in part catharsis and I support that.
There are also ways you can help. Histeria Brewing is donating 50% of their proceeds today, Memorial Day, to flood relief efforts. The Community Foundation of Howard County urges its Howard County Community Relief Fund as a place for cash donations. And the Community Action Council of Howard County and Ellicott City Partnership will be accepting donations today from 10-2 at the Howard County Food Bank, 9385 Gerwig Lane, Suite J, Columbia 21046. My understanding is that the latter two efforts are ongoing in nature.
There has been other news in Howard County this week. Thank you to the Howard County police in catching this sexual predator in Ellicott City. This excuse for a human being is from Reston but for the past five months had been preying upon a local 13-year-old boy.
Up until late yesterday afternoon, doubtless the story of the week in Howard County was the racist, homophobic graffiti sprayed at Glenelg High School and the arrest of four students there on charges of committing these acts.
Racism and homophobia and the rest of it have no place. Here or elsewhere. I have read on social media a lot of traffic about these kids and what ought to happen to them. As a father who, along with my ex-wife, chose to move to Columbia so our kids could be raised with a diverse experience, so they would have to learn through their social interactions, as well as their teachings at home, how to be loving, kind, and tolerant of diversity in all its forms, I'm disgusted by these kids' acts. I don't know what their parents teach them but I can guess. What justice should come onto them? I don't know if education of these four is the answer. Or stronger punishment. I don't know. What my heart tells me is that I want to see the hatred removed from these kids. And the fear that precedes the hatred. I need to learn more before I come to a decision about what methods I would like to see brought forth. But prosecution--- yes, absolutely. No one gets a pass in these acts.
And the concept of "talk with your kids at home about diversity and inclusion" doesn't 100% ring true with me. Because it's obvious some families aren't having those conversations. Or are having the opposite conversation. Or the kids are going off doing whatever the hell they want. Racism, classism, sexism, homophobia, all the rest of it-- HoCo is no more immune to these things than anyone else. How much more reminder do we need of that?
And I guess, going back to the original purpose I had in writing today. we come full circle. Because when I think about the arc of this blog, about the BIG Things that have happened over the last decade, what I see is that I've seen Howard County grow up. It's gone from being largely a bedroom community between Baltimore and Washington to being a community of 350,000, give or take.
Yet, it's a community with a bit of an identity crisis. Is it Washington, Baltimore, or its own thing? Is it suburban, exurban, near-urban, rural, or something else? What value does this community place upon diversity in all forms? I believe I have seen the ideological poles here move farther apart, not move closer together-- just like everywhere else in this country, it seems. Where is the defining employer? The defining showplace? Where is the landmark you see that says, "Yep, I'm here in Howard County". I see a presence, but not so much as an identity.
And creating and shaping our identity-- that should be all of our work. But here's a newsflash, Dear Reader. It's not going to be your vision. Or mine. Or Allan Kittleman's. Or Calvin Ball's. It's going to be something we all contribute to, and those who threaten to walk away from the work of building that identity because they can't have things their way? That's fine. We have plenty of smart, kind people here who are willing to and can help.
It's been an honor to share my barely sane musings with you over the past ten years. Hopefully, at various points, I have enthused, intrigued, motivated, angered, saddened, confused, enlightened, and maybe even informed you. If I've done these things-- good. That means I've done my job.
Let's be careful out there.
PS-- Happy Memorial Day! Please remember those who gave all to preserve our freedoms.
PPS-- Let's Go Caps!!!
#hocoblogs #hocopolitics #ECStrong #hocoschools #ALLCAPS #CNN #HCPSS #ColumbiaMD #hoco