Boo! Scariest Things in Whitewater, 2017



Here’s the eleventh annual FREE WHITEWATER list of the scariest things in Whitewater for 2017. The 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 20142015, and 2016 editions are available for comparison.

The list runs in reverse order, from mildly frightening to truly scary.

10. Dirty Dogs. This town’s like a magnet for every smooth talking heel with a scheme to develop the place, a just-what-you-need-be-prosperous-quick plan. They’ll come in packs, or at least a couple from the same litter, and before you know it, you’re facing the Attack of the Dirty Dogs. It’s almost as though someone might try to convince a town to pay for a poorly planned, ratty excuse for a festival by taking a beloved children’s series and turning it into nothing but a pile of doggie doo. You say it couldn’t happen, but look just 13.9 miles to the north, and perhaps you’ll change your mind…

9. Demand.  It sounds bad, doesn’t it, the demand for something. The word sounds so pushy, so coercive, so oppressive. But when residents complain that there’s too much demand for student housing, they’re not describing the Big Bad Wolf at a straw house.

They’re describing ordinary buyers and sellers in the housing marketplace, looking to make voluntary and cooperative transactions to rent places to live. Some of the same people who enjoy our Farmers’ Market or a City Market refuse to accept a housing market.

8. Big Projects.  The cost of spending on one big project is both alternatives passed over and, for any community, constraints on how much can be spent on other projects while serving the last project’s debt. Going big on one project, and pretending it’s done and in the past, doesn’t place that project in the past – the influence of that past expenditure reaches into the present, and limits the future.

7.  Fairness.  Here’s a question that this community might consider: what does it mean to be fair? Does fairness require that, in all cases, each person should be treated alike, or does it require that in some cases persons should be treated alike and in other cases goods and services should be distributed to each person based on need? (That is, is all justice commutative, or is justice sometimes commutative and sometimes distributive?)

For thousands of years, civilization has recognized more than one concept of justice, with each applicable in different situations. Whitewater’s had a problem – and has recently & happily shed at least one administrator too dense to comprehend any of this – with seeing how important these distinctions are.

When commutative justice is misapplied to deny services to the needy, the denial is injurious specifically and ignorant generally. 

6. What’s Inside.  It must be scary, because leaders would rather start with a discussion of what’s outside than what’s inside. No, and no again: one builds outside to assure vibrant relationships inside. Those relationships are more than the building, more even than photos or videos of what’s happening inside.

5. Comparative AdvantagesThey must be scary, because officials have such trouble grasping them. It makes sense to follow the best practices of others, but a comparative advantage requires doing something better (often a specialization) over one’s competitors. Doing the same thing as everyone else only leaves a community lost in the shuffle. Everyone in the state has a flimsy business development scheme, a new construction project, etc. Every town has roads, buildings, etc. 

4. Personal Awards.  If you’re leading with your personal awards, you’ve already lost anyone accomplished. It’s that simple. When an email signature line lists individual awards, there’s a good chance of over-rating, and an excellent chance of vanity. Accomplishment should be clear after acquaintance. There’s a better way than leading with one’s individual achievements: For Your Consideration, Dr. Jonas Salk.

Team awards, by contrast, are different: they’re not about one person, but about the gains to a group or organization. That’s not vanity – it’s legitimate pride in group accomplishment.

3. That Which Paved The Way. Trump and Putin didn’t emerge overnight. When they came on the scene, many communities across America were vulnerable to their lies and manipulation. Smarmy glad-handers played a role in advancing junk claims, and weakening critical thought. They were part of That Which Paved the Way.  

2. Tabbies, Not LionsMen who were supposed to be the lions of this community, roaring of themselves as movers and shakers, visionaries, dignitaries, etc., are now mostly silent when Trump’s name comes up. Suddenly, but not surprisingly, they’re quiet about the most significant political development of our time.  When they do speak, it sounds like When Lions Meow.

1. Trump.  Of course: autocratic, bigoted, ignorant, contemptuous of democratic traditions and desirous of dictatorial ones.

However serious the challenge from Trump, there’s this consolation: Trump did not carry the City of Whitewater last year. What he did not do in ’16, he will never do. The majority in this small city rejected Trump last year, they would reject him again this year, and they will forever reject him.

We’ve a long slog ahead, but we’ll come through this a free and, one can truly hope, a stronger people.

Best wishes to all for a Happy Halloween.