Letter: So many axes, so little action

Editor’s Note: Many dozens of posts on the subject of Jim Abdo’s plans for Washington were made over the past couple of weeks to Rappnet, the local email list-serv. This one, in slightly edited form, was re-sent to us as a letter.

I am a resident of Little Washington, one of the few here who can actually call myself that.

Reading the recent posts on Rappnet about what is happening in Little Washington completely disillusions me to the possibility of ending wars and terrorism in the world (not that I ever thought it would happen in my lifetime).

If a few people are willing to publicly shred another human being who may or may not be reading these posts, how can we expect larger political groups to do any better? Rappnet is also happy to shred Big Washington, but the example set here in Little Washington means we are no better than those only 70 miles away.

The jealousies, fear, anxiety, anger, outrage and downright meanness in these posts shows me that many people on Rappnet are fearful cowards. I doubt many would be willing (except for Ben Jones) to stand face-to-face and say these same words in public to the person’s face.

Why is it that the Internet regresses intelligent, caring adults, with a high level of education to no more than uneducated rednecks pissing into their neighbors’ yards?

I wonder if we had to sit and write a letter by hand if the same amount of vile would spew forth from the pen. The ability to immediately hit the Send button seems to loose the amygdala to express its deepest fears and aggression rather than getting a chance to run the thoughts through the frontal lobe (rational thinking part of our brain). Instead we revert to our most basic instincts of survival and come out fighting.

I am not agreeing or disagreeing with the actions taken by some individuals in town. But instead of moaning about it, why didn’t one of those now complaining buy the Packing House, which has been for sale forever? Why didn’t one of these people open a bakery in town? We have all had every opportunity to make a difference to this community that we love so much, but I don’t see the “locals” stepping up and investing in the town by opening shops.

Now that someone is trying to revive commerce in Washington, no one likes what he is doing. I have lived in town for 10 years and been in the county for 15. I have watched Washington lose shops, turn into the realtor capital of the world and then become almost a ghost town during the recession. Things are finally picking up again. We have a lovely wine and chocolate bar, Tula’s and the Rappahannock News has been kept alive.

The Inn at Little Washington property surrounds our property on three sides, and I can tell you I would rather have chef Patrick O’Connell’s sheep for neighbors than a housing development. We often greet people (locals and guests) strolling along the walking path that wraps around the sheep field and offer them something from our garden.

So, rather than screaming like children, why not put that energy to good use? How about calmly getting together and taking action in the way in which government is designed — showing up at board meetings and getting involved and finding ways to help local businesses grow? My husband, Brad Schneider, worked long and hard with a bunch of others on an economic development plan for the county, but I don’t see any implementation of the ideas generated by that plan. What happened with that?

And besides, we have all seen what happens when winter descends on Rappahannock County. How many businesses have closed because not enough people walked through the door on a cold, dark winter’s night? Time will tell now that these buildings are sold and remodeled if the business plan included an objective projection of business in the winter. I have my doubts about folks driving out here when the snow flies.

Regarding the mayor and town council members: John Sullivan was willing to take the job. I didn’t see anyone else’s name on the ballot this past election. That tells me no one else wanted it, but everyone is sure ready and willing to shoot him for the job he is doing. I believe the saying goes, “Put up or shut up.”

If we want to maintain and shape the community according to our wishes we have to be willing to open our checkbooks, roll up our sleeves and do the job, not sit by until someone with a vision walks into the void we have created through inaction, and then does something we don’t like. We are the ones responsible for the current “unwanted” changes because we have not done something to help those who are trying to sell their property or finding ways to support local businesses.

Might be time to look in the mirror before hitting the Send button again.

Wendy Murdoch

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