G-Town: The good, bad, and ugly
“OK, Suzy Six Pack, what’s on your mind? You seem a bit out of sorts.”
“Yeah, Joe and I are wondering why you haven’t been writing about Georgetown lately. We saw you at a few meetings and were hoping attending them would prompt you since there is so much happening.”
“Or perhaps, not happening,” said Joe Soccer Dad. “Have you noticed the Red Ram out of business?”
“Sad,” said Suzy “after 50 years going. It seems the town is a collective travesty of justice and going broke in the process.”
“It’s far from the first calamity to hit this town,” I offered. “Do you remember the Snowgate scandal in ‘03 and the $65,000 tab the town is stuck with because FEMA refused to reimburse it? After six years, you would think by now the town would be suing to recoup its loss in court.”
“I don’t understand that one,” said Joe shaking his head. “I suspect it has more to do with the players than about realistic chances of success in court.”
“Then there was the train,” I added, “with the former owners who built it into one of the most successful operations of its type in the country being essentially railroaded out of the business. There are others, but I think you get the point.”
“Is it my imagination, or are the same people who were power brokers back then still calling the shots today?” wondered Joe.
“It’s murky,” I answered. “As a writer though, when kicking around ideas about writing on Georgetown politics, metaphors and literary allusions abound.”
“For example?” asked Joe.
“Br’er Rabbit and the tar baby for one. The more that old bunny tries to pry himself loose, the more stuck he becomes. Just like Georgetown politics.
“Metaphors, though, while being creative and making the piece more enjoyable, only serve to highlight the depth of a problem. They don’t offer solutions.”
“Perhaps,” Joe considered. “I have compared delving into the machinations of the power brokers to journeying through Dante’s ‘Inferno’ and to the line from ‘Star Trek’ about Jim Kirk going where angels fear to tread.”
“Oh, Georgetown politics aren’t in the realm of Dan Brown’s ‘Angels and Demons’ with the power brokers as the Illuminati,” I chuckled, “but for sure, the road through it is pocked with more potholes than Argentine from 15th to Sixth Street”
“You know,” said Suzy, “thinking about the train fiasco and snow removal scandal reminds me of the Clint Eastwood flick ‘The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.’ There might be bad and ugly, but you’d hope at least a third of what’s happening must be good.
“A few weeks ago I attended the monthly Code Enforcement Task Force meeting and saw some seriously concerned, hard-working women trying to make a difference. I wonder if they’re spitting into the wind, unladylike as it might be, but, still, they’re hard at it and continuing despite the town manager resigning.”
“True,” I said. “I wonder, though, whether they can be successful without the board and mayor 100 percent behind them.”
“Right,” said Joe. “It seems grandfathering property that would be considered in violation if it deteriorated now and turning a blind eye to other eyesore properties undercut whatever authority they have. The culture still is about who you are rather than whether one is in compliance with the code or is violating the law.
“Quite frankly, I am sick of seeing the Queen Mary squatting behind that dilapidated pink eyesore at the entry to what is supposed to be a national historic district. It’s embarrassing!”
“Still,” said Suzy, “you have to give those women credit. They’re trying to make the whole town, not just the historic district, more presentable for visitors and for ourselves.
“And other good things are happening too, like the wind farm. Do you realize what a boon it will be for our tax base and the jobs it will create, besides addressing climate change and energy independence? And what a potential tourist draw!”
“You have to give credit to the local businesses for working at economic development as well,” Joe chimed in. “They keep generating creative ideas, like the recent Aspen Fest, though the winds did play havoc, I hear, on that first weekend.”
“All good points,” I agreed. “Nevertheless, I’m not going to write even about the good stuff because ethically I would be compelled to write about the bad and ugly, and cavorting through Dante’s ‘Inferno,’ metaphor or not, is not exactly my cup of tea.”
“On that last point,” interjected Joe, “I followed your recommendation and read ‘Three Cups of Tea.’ The Pakistani general’s insistence that the enemy is ignorance really struck a chord.”
“Hmm, now that you mention it, do you think there’s a lesson in the story about this?”