Letter to the Editor - April 18, 2019
Keeping our community cohesive in increasingly divisive times
I’ve always been taken with the feeling of community that sits at the heart of Daniel Island. Although this area is primarily made up of those “from away,” the fact that so very few can claim to be actually “from Daniel Island” has a unifying effect. No “my great granddaddy was here before yours” type of one-ups-manship disrupts this “we’re all in it together” feeling.
That said, I’m not Pollyanna about the state of affairs in the world and how it has the potential to disrupt our communal rhythms. Given these realities please consider the following practical steps to keeping our town together.
Don’t Believe the Hype: Realize that ALL cable news channels are in the business of making money from selling ads to corporations who want to reach a large viewership. How do they best generate a large viewership? Not by telling lovely stories of heroics or empathy. No. They flash a red banner (purposely red because it’s scientifically proven to grab your attention better) across the bottom of the screen and beat the drum of the most inflammatory issues of the news cycle in order to get YOUR attention and then SELL your attention to corporations. That’s it. They’ve learned that by creating a larger chasm between the political sides they can make more money. Don’t be fooled. Our community is better than getting caught in this trap.
Shop Local: Besides the fact that 526 can periodically be treacherous, it’s also a way for our dollars to leave the island. That’s not totally bad. There are plenty of amazing locally-owned shops and restaurants off the island in nearby Park Circle and Mt. Pleasant. There are also big national mega-stores and chains that have a purpose. I’d advocate, though, that the best case is to continue to support local establishments on Daniel Island so that (i) they will flourish and (ii) more cool new establishments will join them. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy that you as a Daniel Island consumer can encourage.
Smile and Wave: You are having a bad day. It feels like nothing is going your way. Suddenly a stranger walks by, looks you in the eyes, smiles and waves or says hello. It’s magical and it makes you feel just a little bit better. And the act of smiling helps the stranger to feel a little better, too. Everyone is carrying problems that the outside world can’t see. The seemingly trivial act of smiling at someone can change a culture on a grand scale. Do the same thing during our mini-rush hour in traffic as well. Wave and let folks in. We’ll all be better for it.
Am I likely to win the Nobel Peace Prize for these astounding, original and mesmerizing insights? No. But am I more likely to live in a delightful community in which these insights support an already unified culture? I believe so. Thanks to all of you for making Daniel Island such a unique place to call home.