Monday, April 1, 2013

The Pressing Change

We will be talking a lot about change over the next few months.  First, it's Spring, which means we (should) be seeing warmer temperatures and longer days.  Next, the new slate of candidates for the 2014 elections will probably be making themselves known between the close of Session and early Fall (while probably not announcing until mid-Winter).  And more locally, we have Columbia reborn, where you have the option of being witness to or a part of change.  Howard Hughes is going to change Columbia.  Where we sit in relation to that change is up to us.

For me, change is refreshing.  It offers the opportunities for clean slates, but more importantly, removed reflection.  "What was going through my head in that previous state?  Could I have ever imagined the present?  What lessons have I learned since then that change my current perspective?"

We evolve, consciously or not.  I hate to say it, but it may be more accurate to just stick with the word "change".  I've seen brilliant people go dogma.  I've seen kind people grow coarse.  It is so hard to keep a governor on that change, especially when emotions are involved.

And isn't that it right there?  We can depend on change.  We may even be able to expect "good change".  But when emotions, whether they be communal strife or personal angst, enter the mix, all bets are off.

We've seen this with Symphony Woods, Councilmanic Redistricting, and the development of Downtown Columbia.  We will see this with Comprehensive Re-Zoning.  When emotions are involved, the "best possible outcome" becomes secondary to addressing the emotions stirred.  "How can I make you feel better?"  Never mind the satiated majority.  Observers may say "if only you had done [this] you would not have had the emotional response," but that presumes the emotional response is premised on a rational objective basis.  It presumes that there is some formula that would have forestalled outcry.  In a community that is perched on the edge of transformative change, haven't we tried it all?  Charettes, task forces, committees, work groups, surveys, polls, petitions, press releases, FAQ's...

Columbia would never have been built under such circumstances.

Going into this season of change, it will be important to evaluate our future leaders on their leadership style in this regard.  Are they looking for the best possible outcome, or will they chase emotional appeasement?  It is such a wishy-washy subjective quality, but so important to the future of Howard County.  If they aren't confident about the direction they've chosen, why should any of us be?  If they haven't bought-in on the changes being proposed, why are they letting them happen?  And if emotions are what matters, what is the antidote for disappointment?

That's all for today.  Have a great Monday doing what you love.  Watch out for April's Fools Day pranks!