Why doesn’t somebody do something? — General Aviation News (2024)

Why doesn’t somebody do something? — General Aviation News (1)

The idea was simple enough. A society built on the participation of the public in service to each other would be superior to a society built on the principle that a small, allegedly higher class of people should dictate demands to a larger, lower class of people.

Welcome to America. At least in theory.

You have no doubt noticed over the course of several decades the class system has crept into American life. While we were intended to be one people of similar status, we have become a highly fragmented population divided into innumerable groups.

There is a reason the expression “divide and conquer” has lasted through the ages. It works. And so it is with great sorrow that I must share with you that at this point in history we are doing great damage to ourselves by insisting on divisions rather than seeking out common cause.

There is no them, there is only us.

Public service was at one time a term used with pride. To be involved in public service was to take time out from one’s own life to share skills and effort on behalf of our own neighbors. This is one of the ways a community comes to be — any community, be it based on sports, religion, technology, the arts, or warfare.

America was designed to be a participatory system of government. A self-help program for those bold enough to brave the journey, shoulder the load, and accept the risks. Those who found themselves on the winning side economically, or admired for daring deeds, were encouraged and welcome to throw their hat into the ring in a bid to serve their fellow citizens for a time. Not a lifetime, just a term or two.

Somehow that citizen volunteer system of participation has morphed into career positions of privilege. That rankles many of those cut out of the process. As it should.

We did this to ourselves, of course. No matter which community we might identify ourselves with, we got lazy. We let others step into the breach to do the grunt work of managing our assets while we got busy living it up in ways that have led to a population of largely depressed individuals who feel cut off from their own society. Our solution has been to stress eat ourselves into a higher weight class, use credit to buy things we don’t really need, neglect our neighbors, and complain incessantly about the world around us.

Why doesn’t somebody do something?

That’s the crux of the situation. It’s also the answer. Because you are somebody. You can make a difference. Any of us can. It takes effort, however. And thought. And commitment to progress, which is entirely different than the intractable belief that if I don’t get what I want I’m going to make everyone suffer.

That’s how we got where we are today. It didn’t work. It doesn’t work. We have to shed our ego, rein in our animosity for divergent beliefs, and listen twice as much as we talk.

That sets the stage for progress. Diplomacy shouldn’t be a dirty word. Embrace it.

Let’s consider this dilemma in its simplest possible terms — the grocery store parking lot. You’ve been there. We’ve all been there. Shopping carts are typically strewn around the lot, taking up spaces, rolling into cars, scratching and dinging machines that cost tens of thousands of dollars. All because the prior user didn’t have the respect for their fellow shoppers to return the cart to its corral.

Why doesn’t somebody do something? — General Aviation News (2)

How hard is that? A small child can accomplish the task. This small inconvenience, this minor annoyance which compounds with so many others we encounter on a daily basis, increasingly vexes us. All because a large percentage of us don’t have sufficient consideration for our own neighbors to put away our tools when we’re done using them.

Let’s take this one step further, to the local airport. Regardless of size, shape, or utilization rates this is arguably one of the most potentially and profoundly beneficial facilities in town. Yet most languish unappreciated, undeveloped, and often considered by leadership to be little more than an expensive Albatross they can’t legally get rid of. They just don’t want to be bothered.

Unlike other public use facilities, the airport is only understood in practical terms by a small group of folks — many of whom feel abused by the management or ignored at the very least.

Why doesn’t somebody do something? — General Aviation News (3)

In truth the airport is an economic engine of tremendous potential in any town. But like any powerful machine, it has to be fueled up, well maintained, and operated with care to get the most out of it. Any fine machinery can be rendered useless when driven hard, left bereft of oil, and abandoned out in the weather to fend for itself.

Would you rather be gifted a classic well-tuned Porsche or a 1970s era AMC Matador that’s been sitting in the woods growing mold for the past few decades? One is a valuable piece of machinery that can get you to work on time. The other is a massive hole you can throw money into in the hopes that someday you’ll get some small percentage of it back. Probably from the junk man.

If there is no high school or college on the grounds of your local airport, your community is missing the boat. If local business leaders don’t periodically meet with airport users to explore the economic potential of the field and its unique possibilities, the dollars lost due to that disconnect will never be recovered.

As pilots, aircraft mechanics, aviation business owners, and interested residents, it is in our best interest to offer ourselves for public service. Establish an airport advisory committee that puts effective and beneficial utilization of the field at the forefront of its agenda. Discuss development of the airport as an asset to the community — a place where learning, recreation, business, and personal fulfillment all converge for the betterment of the residents and visitors to your area.

Or, just keep leaving your shopping cart in the middle of the parking lot for someone else to retrieve on your behalf.

Choose wisely.

Why doesn’t somebody do something? — General Aviation News (2024)
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