Last Wednesday, July 8, there was a feeling of unhappiness, frustration and even anger in the council chambers at city hall.
People wanted to be heard. They expressed their passion for and pride in their home of Richmond but were overcome with sadness for the direction in which it is going.
Among the details of setbacks, square footage, and height of new homes, the citizens in attendance were told that bylaws were in place, that they could be tweaked slightly, and that someone would examine them and report back to the public.
However, courageous leadership and a deep understanding of the source of the public angst were not there. This angst comes from a deep sense of loss in what community is, a place where individuals live together, knowing that the place is shared, where they are concerned for each other, trust each other and respect each other.
As individuals, we are rooted in the social context; our individuality is forged out of this context. True meaning in life is found in community. A genuine community is one in which individuals exemplify loyalty toward a worthy cause or an ideal and, in doing so, build a higher order, one that extends beyond their individual lives. It is this need for genuine community and the fear of its loss that was expressed yesterday. It truly hurt.