Speaking out, not whining
In her recent letter, Tamme Marggraf proclaimed that by defending his love and concern for the environment of Morgan County, John Webster fit the shoe that she in a previous letter defined as “whining” and “ineffective” “noise-making.”
If whining is a definition of speech aimed against local environmental exploitation, then many of us wear that shoe, and proudly, if not always as effectively as Webster, whose campaign for county commissioner included personally picking up roadside trash from Rt. 9 East to Paw Paw.
Webster’s campaign and his eloquent letters and advertisements in The Morgan Messenger have inspired many of us, arguably paving the way for the election of new, more environmentally concerned county commissioners.
Sadly, Marggraf’s tone in these letters does her friends, neighbors and community disservice by disrespecting those who not only have spoken out, but done substantial research, written endless letters, attended meetings, slaved to get new people elected to the county commission, run for office and done all the things one has to do — a full time job for some — to defend our most precious possessions: our ecosystems. In striking contrast to those who oppose them, self-enrichment is never their goal.
Despite a previous letter’s implication that the “whiners” are also bullies, bullying a large corporation that intends to build a thousand houses in a small valley, the deck is not stacked in their favor. Even so, it is amazing what mere “noise making” can accomplish.
Before moving here, Greg McGrath and I took part in a movement in a New Jersey town, a state where developers helped write the laws. We successfully turned away the mega-developer who was drooling over our much cherished open space. The governor noticed and turned the land into state park. Our low real estate values soared.
Marggraf’s contempt for citizens who speak out when a proposed large development threatens to change their rural county seems quite off the wall. What on earth would one expect? Her complaint is that anyone dares to object. To end with a different truism, this is perhaps a case of the pot calling the kettle black, except that regarding John Webster, the kettle is whistling a tune that bears listening to, and the kettle isn’t whistling alone.