Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Educated in a small town

When I took a break from blogging in early 2011, I didn't expect it to be for three or more years. Then again, I didn't foresee the reason for the hiatus: the startling and repeated nastiness I encountered in my first few months in Hudson. Had the bad behaviors come from random individuals on the street, I might have more easily moved on. But all of the actors, save one, hold or have held public office in Hudson; and the exception among them has been as prominent here as any of the others have been over the past decade.
I have felt great shame for these individuals and for Hudson ever since. This is not an attitude I wanted to bring to this blog or carry with me when I walk down Warren Street. But the question of whether this little city is in some way poisoned nonetheless faces me daily. (I continue to live in Hudson.) I realize that this question is in many ways unfair, because I also have met many good, open-minded people here. But it does seem that public dialogue here is distorted by a handful of relatively privileged individuals with a very narrow view of cities, society, and Hudson. And they have little compunction about discrediting, misleading, insulting, shouting down, ignoring, fabricating conflicts with, or—I kid you not—making public faces of disgust at those with whom they disagree.

The mistake I have made in response has been to try to rationally address these behaviors. Indeed, I have started this blog post many times over the past three years, each time leading with an effort to explain and address the foolishness that went on. But, I have realized, publicly calling out people on their manipulations and temper tantrums, no matter how egregious, tends to bring one down to the level of the offenders.

And so without further explication (until, perhaps, the guilty parties next run for office), I hereby restart this blog. Its focus will be somewhat more expansive than before, as in addition to opining on Hudson urbanism, I will explore other cities and towns in the Hudson Valley—and, at times, beyond. Indeed, the world is larger than Hudson.

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