More conferences on youth flight

It has been some time since I commented on the issue of youth flight from our York State communities. Today, the Press and Sun Bulletin out of Binghamton reported on a summit by an organization called the "Pipeline 4 Progress Network" which focused on "dedicated to attracting and retaining talent in the area." A "town hall" style meeting, it's main focus seemed to be coming up with actions that residents could take in the revitalization of community. The meeting came up with the following ideas:

"•Residents should stay positive and focus on what they as citizens can do.

•Worries that young people living in poverty will miss out on opportunities available to their more affluent peers may be alleviated with scholarships to allow them to join.

•Owners of small retail stores who are concerned they'll be driven out of business by national chains may consider staying open later.

•School officials could foster understanding of other cultures by seeking public funds to offer more foreign language programs."

The article also quotes the region's drawbacks as: "high taxes, a shrinking population and intolerance of differences." There is some substance here, even though quoting "a shrinking population" as a reason for shrinking populations is a bit strange. In particular, I am pleased to see a discussion of intolerance, an issue mentioned in our previous post, being aired. Also the fact that the concerns of poor youths (or heavily indebted ones) and small business owners are considered is a positive sign.

However, the one great Achilles' Heel of this type of conference is its reliance upon the current institutions for change. School officials changing classes, elected officials instituting policy adaptations and business leaders staying open later; the only thing for residents to do is "stay positive." What help is staying positive by itself? Prayer alone does not build a house. The conference, like so many others, simply tells us to sit back and trust our leaders... the same leaders who have done little or nothing for years to drag us out of the pits in which we have fallen. I think it is time that we, the people, start to figure out solutions for our own problems. I've personally had enough of sitting back and being positive.

-Posted by Jesse


Natalie said...

See, you know it's young and hip because they said "4" instead of "for"

joe said...

You're gonna stand-up and be negative cousin, i'm gonna sit down and be negative.

Jesse said...

Yeah, the name "Pipeline 4 Progress" in itself seems a bit suspect. The "4" seems to be a bizarre attempt at being cool, but it's not nearly as disturbing as "Pipeline" and "Progress."

Pipeline seems to insinuate forcing or sucking people into the area. Just as I bemoan the loss of our children to points south and west, I would think it as much a crime for us to do the same. Can't we instead try to keep our own people close to home rather than dragging in North Carolina's people?

I'm not a fan of "pipeline" but it's not as suspect as "Progress." Progress is such a strange word and it has been used to justify so many crimes, against art, taste, good sense and human decency, that I don't think it should be used by thinking people. It, to me, invokes sort of a pre-WWI ideal of society moving and evolving towards perfection. It is the love of technology and the idea that science alone will solve humanity's problems. It is "progress" that sent our factories to Buffalo, that tore down beautiful and functional old buildings and sets our children into schools where they study for mindless exams instead of learning about their world.

There... that's my rant for the night.

Jesse said...

Yes... proofreading is a good thing. I meant "sent our factories to China" instead of "Buffalo." Whoops.