I got a call the other day from someone many would consider a “community leader.” Yes, I used quotation marks. That’s because most “community leaders” are self-proclaimed or put into their roles by special interest groups. Or they’ve got job titles or own something. Usually a lot of money. There are other ways. But the list is long and, to me, not very distinguished.
I can assure my readers the person on the other end of the line was someone who cares and deserves recognition, but would have no use for the title “community leader.” Sadly, a hobgoblin only adored by little statesmen, philosophers and divines. Me? I’m a bit of a non-conformist. Perhaps my musings on these pages have already given many that clue.
So, when the phone message came across my desk over the weekend, let’s just say my reaction was, “Oh great, another ‘community leader’ calling me to tell me how I didn’t mean what I just wrote — in between their yelling and condescension. In 23 years I’ve gotten just as many, if not more, of those than the
“I really liked that” responses. Not to worry, both mean I’m doing my job. Which I feel compelled to say to all our “community leaders,” “health experts,” “honorable gentlemen and gentleladies” and “good friends across the aisle” is essential. Just like everyone else’s jobs — outside of government — are essential.
Although it was a weekend, my curiosity, gut and anxiety told me to return the call, fearful as I was. So, I did. And sure enough, right out of the gate came an apology. But not from me, but my caller. “You didn’t have to call me on the weekend.” Ah, but upstairs at CraigyWorld, I did. So now it was on to a scolding for what I had the audacity to put into print.
Except it wasn’t. I was expecting pushback on my column about the brouhaha at Mesa County Public Health — a topic of which many have an opinion, but few know much about. I feel compelled here to put an aside in for those who think they see marionette strings running from Sixth and Rood to Sixth and North. Not referencing Ralph Waldo Emerson, but Gertrude Stein, “There is no there there.” You can confirm it by doing something the local media refuses to do and just ask Janet Rowland, who has no doubt whispered to herself on many occasions, “Now, what the heck does Craig want?” For the record, I’ve been railing “thataways” since March 17, 2020. And not just here in River City, but all the way to the top and at every level in between to our “community leaders” on health.
But back to my weekend call. To my surprise, the next words informed me I’d written something that touched the caller — ironically, from a column based on other community leaders in Bill and Ted and their excellent adventure. It was my CliffsNotes at the end of a speech no one will ever invite me to give. Yes, I’m about to quote myself.
Follow your passion, cause no harm, stay out of other people’s lives unless it’s literally life or death and at all costs avoid the government. And absolutely embrace every second of it because it’s all beautiful. Live fully and love completely wherever life takes you. In other words: “Be excellent to each other.”
It touched me those words touched another. I’m no Ralph Waldo. But maybe Craig Richard has the talent to occasionally publish some philosophical words on self-reliance. I urge everyone to read the essay by Emerson of the same name at least once. And while I’m mandated at the Business Times to write columns, it’s essential I philosophize in freedom.
It’s essential because I’m essential. It’s essential because you’re essential. It’s essential because we’re mandated to be good to one another and love one another — not to command and rule over one another. Being essential is what brings us peace, love and joy. It’s the essential ingredients from what to some is another out-of-date document about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Those are words rarely found in the pontifications and mandates of modern “community leaders.”
Mandates get you declared “non-essential.” Fifteen days to slow the spread turning into emergency powers that persist for years and dissolve the economy, supply chains and livelihoods. The only things essential in the past three years were to treat the sick, protect the vulnerable and go on with our lives.
Mandates also get you scooters, E-bikes, theaters, $200 million schools and ziplines — and millions for promising ziplines. You thought I forgot about the next edition, didn’t you? They also get you the title of “community leader.” More proof there’s little good in mandates. Essential gets you quality infrastructure, safe communities and a life free of tyranny.
Mandates destroy freedom because freedom is essential to love, joy and peace. My friend on the phone knew that. I know that. Embrace your essential self-reliance. It’s the only way to live.
Craig Hall is owner and publisher of the Business Times. Reach him at 424-5133 or firstname.lastname@example.org.