The PhxP Archives: On Community
The big cities were as far away as the moon and accessible only by AM radio and then, only at night.
The news came from the two channels available on the TV and via the efforts of Mrs. Homer who drove the newspaper up the mountain every day, weather permitting.
The mail was delivered by Mr. Hatfield, who knew I’d be waiting by the road every Wednesday to receive the week old information from “The Sporting News” with the anticipation and wonder of Moses receiving the tablets from God.
Everyone I knew lived where I did.
If someone moved away, you wrote them a letter to stay in touch if you had liked them…if you didn’t, they were simply gone.
The sheriff came up to visit once a week, but the law was administered by the townsfolk.
As a result, we had little crime.
It was a community…we shared two common stores, one hardware store (which was also the liquor store and where you bought your hunting license) one tiny post office, one tiny school, and one cafe and tavern.
We also shared our struggles and joys…in real life in real time.
We shared our salmon and produce, we cared for our sick and everyone raised everybody’s kids.
Getting along was not an option…it was too hard to avoid people you may be in conflict with.
We learned tolerance and forgiveness and we lived together (mostly) in peace.
Today, we boast about how the internet has shrunk the world and created a sense of global community.
In reality, it has simply digitized people the way we digitize photos and music.
The only common ground we have is an electronic pipeline that allows us to communicate with whoever we choose.
We are “friends” with gravatars…until they offend us, then we “unfriend” the gravatar and and speak evil of it to as many people as will “follow” us.
There is no need for tolerance or forgiveness because flesh and blood is now nothing more than a moniker that types.
We have instant news and a constant fire hose of information, but we have little understanding and less compassion.
We don’t have to get along, we don’t have to see the pain we cause another real person…we just damn the profile pic and click on to the next image.
“Community” has been replaced by “clique” and even the cliques divide and go to war with the gravatars that used to be “friends”.
We are no longer people…we are images on a screen and often, targets in a video game that has real consequences.
We shoot to kill, often in the name of Jesus.
That’s not community.
God forgive me for what I’ve done to help make it that way.
I want to go home.