This post is a companion to one from yesterday on rights, entitled, How Many Rights for Whitewater?
Whitewater is a place of great natural beauty, hundreds of years of indigenous and settled living, and a quaint, small-town scene.
If residents of Whitewater should have the same rights as those elsewhere in Wisconsin and America – and so they should and do have – then what can one stay about the standards for politics and policy in the city?
Just as one’s rights should be no less than elsewhere, so also the standards of politics and policy should be the highest standards of Wisconsin, of America, and of the civilized world beyond.
One may put this plainly about standards, in a fashion similar to yesterday’s about rights:
We have reason to love our small town for myriad reasons, but loving a place without expecting – and fighting – for the highest standards is a tepid, pale sort of love.
Often it’s not love at all, but merely desire masquerading as love’s deeper devotion.
For all her many charms, Whitewater brings this risk, one that other small towns face: that practices truly beneath our state or country will be falsely exalted as higher than anywhere else. This may come from neediness, insecurity, self-promotion, laziness, etc.
I’m sure are many reasons; none justify mediocre local practices over excellent state and national ones.
We can be a happy & quaint town while embracing national (and even international) standards. Truly, we can be a happy & quaint, vibrant & prosperous town in no other way.
Pretending that everything that happens here is better than anything else that happens anywhere else is destructive to our politics and policymaking. Fabricating awards and pretending we’re the Center of the Known Universe Where All is Eternally Exceptional™ is beneath us.
It’s a defeatist position: rather than trying to do better, some simply exaggerate how they’re doing. They may also believe that they can do no better than they’re doing.
I’ve neither deference nor respect for these notions. They may doubt what they can do; I know that we are just as capable (and as deserving) of the highest standards of care.
The time a few spend pretending, exaggerating, showboating, grandstanding, and outright lying is time lost to actual accomplishment and progress.
One can always improve, and we can improve our local politics and small city most profoundly when we drink deeply of the clear waters of our advanced, prosperous country.
To do so will be only to our advantage: we will have combined Whitewater’s great natural beauty and quaint small-town scene with the highest standards of politics and policy from all America.
These, also, are the true and high standards that all Whitewater deserves, and so must have.