By Dale Paule
The way Mister Rogers saw things in his neighborhood made him a hit on television, and for good reason, because his philosophy was of the basically classic, “Do Unto Others…” and there’s nothing wrong with that. That is, if those “others” do the same.
To be honest, I think most people really do believe this because when it happens, well, the result is “bingo,” you have, “a beautiful day in the neighborhood!” But for some reason, some neighborhoods always seem to inherit that one person, the one who was the eldest child in the family (you know the one I mean), that one that just has to take control over everything and everybody.
And when you think about it, pretty much the same thing happens on a much larger scale in neighborhoods all over the world.
Politicians try, and succeed, to make the problems of the world as complicated as possible, and suggest that only they have the solutions to get us through each inevitable crisis. In reality, many of the world’s “big” problems are no more complicated than those we experience every day in our own neighborhoods. Let’s imagine, as an example, a typical American neighborhood; one that’s been around long enough to have established a friendly relationship among its inhabitants. Then, one day a new family moves in and it’s happy folks cheerfully welcome the newcomer to the “Beautiful Neighborhood.”
Sounds corny, doesn’t it — like one of those old black and white “feel-good” movies? Well, unfortunately, judging by the standards set in some parts of our present society, such behavior has long gone out of style; way out of style!
And the reason is because that newcomer who was so happily and cordially welcomed into the neighborhood has decided suddenly they don’t approve of certain things their neighbors do or say. Things like the colors they choose to paint their houses, or they water their lawn too often, or in the winter they used their fireplace for burning wood, and the smoke adds to the “climate change crisis!”
The list of grievances goes on and some even dare to complain about hearing their neighbors wishing each other “Merry Christmas.” Oh, the humanity! And God forbid they put up those glaring, gaudy lights on their houses that actually spell it out where anyone can see it; and I won’t even go into their reaction to the Easter Bunny.
The next thing found offensive was when the newcomer’s children tearfully informed their parents that their new school was “forcing” them to pledge allegiance to the flag.
By this time, open hostility blankets the neighborhood. Then election time comes around and gives the newcomers an even bigger reason to be offended: signs supporting a favorite political candidate being openly displayed on front lawns everywhere, and then, in an act of outrageous political blasphemy, signs supporting, “TRUMP” began springing up! That was the last straw for the newcomers; that meant WAR!
The neighborhood began receiving hate letters from organizations they’d never heard of, and attorneys from all over added their threat letters to the pile; all with the same command: “cease and desist.”
Tensions rose as professional protesters were bussed in and flooded the neighborhood, loudly picketing their now bewildered, and definitely no longer “Beautiful Neighborhood!”
Well, no need to go on; we’ve all been reading about and watching similar events for a long time now. So far, it doesn’t look like it’s slowing down, and in fact, if anything, it’s spreading to the remaining few untouched neighborhoods. Maybe yours?
All we can do now is hope that sooner or later common sense will return and bring back those, “Beautiful days in the neighborhood.”
And what, you ask, does Mr. Rogers think of it all? It’s hard to say; Mr. Rogers doesn’t live here anymore!