Jon Stewart is my personal hero. In the past couple of years, he has said a couple of things that really resonated with me. I think it might be worth offering them up to all of you Oak Parkers out there incensed either over Trustee Susan Buchanan’s heated comments at a recent village meeting and/or Trustee Dan Moroney’s radio interview.
“Infinite rage wears on you”: Stewart said this three weeks after the 2016 election, but it is just as applicable now. Can we all just take a chill pill? Can we just stipulate that some basically honest, well-meaning folks may have suffered some lapses in judgment? Can all the outraged parties agree to let both trustees off the hook now? Can we stop calling for resignations and let our village government get back to work? Infinite rage wears on you and it wears you down. It’s exhausting and ultimately it’s not productive.
“If we amplify everything, we hear nothing”: This quote is from Stewart’s closing remarks in 2010 at the “Rally to Restore Sanity” and it is just as applicable today. In other words, “pick your battles” and “know when to quit.” To mangle an old aphorism, let the outrage fit the crime. Not everything requires a ballistic response. If, indeed, a ballistic response is called for, by all means make your point — then give the other guy a chance to be heard. If you keep beating on the drum, at some point people stop listening.
Maybe hosting our own “rally to restore sanity” isn’t a bad idea. As citizens of Oak Park, we have more important issues to deal with. The Oak Park real estate market is stagnant, with the diverse character of our village threatened by our sky-high property taxes that drive out older residents on fixed incomes and keep out potential buyers of modest means; property taxes force some homeowners to choose between paying their taxes and paying their bills. Now that’s something to get worked up about, don’t you think?
As citizens of the world, we have more critical issues to deal with. Climate change is relentlessly transforming the planet into an uninhabitable lump. Now that is something to get worked up about, don’t you think?