Editorial: OK re-reading this I should have known better and should have waited till my head was clearer. My head is a tad bit less stuffy. And with that here is the point I was trying to make, we get the city we got. When we arrived on the scene as renters or owners or long term couch crashers we got a DC that is what it is because of its history and people. Yet, we don’t have to leave it as is. As renters, owners, & couch crashers we change the city by being here and we do have some rights as others who have come before us have had in changing the city.
If I go off and sound weird, it’s the DayQuil talking.
Around 1870something someone decided to build a row of houses, where my house stands. This someone or someones, chose who would build it, chose the Federal style, and chose how cheaply they’d acquire materials and labor. The person who wound up owning the row rented the units out, the rental market possibly impacted who he would rent the units out to, which then determined the demographics of the street. Expand this to many builders and landlords and homebuyers over many, many decades. Then you have the various citizens & Congress who in one way or another over the years impacted what laws got on the books, what laws were scratched off, and how much money and effort actually went into their enforcement or implementation.
Fast forward to now. Through purchase I now own the unit some guy back in 1870something built. I own the design that is the result of previous owners and tenants maintenance and improvements or lack thereof. Laws and culture limit what changes I can make. There are building codes that are the result of centuries of gawd knows what, that need to be followed. Also living in a community I have to balance my wants with my neighbors. But I do have the right to change the windows, the paint, the landscaping, gut the insides, change the fencing, and put my personal fingerprint on the lot.
By virtue of being a citizen, I’m allowed to vote. Which means if there are enough like minded folks we can get laws changed, put new ones on the books, fight for the enforcement of some of those laws and the implementation of others. Just as previous citizens have done in years past.
While I acknowledge those who came before me and the world they have created, I do recognize that I have certain rights, freedoms, and responsibilities to change that world. The previous generation needs to nurture its core values if they want those values to continue into the future, be they laws, aesthetics, or an environment. Nurturing, by demonstrating the value to the new people, not just guilt tripping, because guilt trips only take you so far.