If there’s one thing I can say about natural gas drilling without turning my head into a giant target, it’s this: talking about gas drilling is turning you into a giant target.
Is it the biggest issue that western Sullivan County has faced in the past decade or so? In many ways, yes. It’s one that we’d be fools to ignore. We must talk about it. We must prepare for what is to come.
And yet, the division that’s come of simply talking about the threat of fracking in our midst forces just one question: are we still in junior high school?
I can’t help feeling that way when I walk into a town board meeting to see the two camps separated like cliques at the lunch table. The mean girls are here, the jocks there, the geeks in yet another corner.
I don’t know where to sit. To get too close to one’s own neighbor is to be seen by others as aligning myself — whether or not it’s true. Next thing you know, I’ll have a “kick me” sign stuck on my back and become target for spitballs.
I’ve been there. I figured out the best way to avoid the spitballs was to sit next to the guy who made them. I survived junior high and high school too.
I shouldn’t have to be figuring it all out again.
This is the biggest fight for Sullivan County right now: not gas drilling. That may or may not come. No, the biggest fight is in figuring out how to talk about fracking without sounding like a bunch of 11-year-olds concerned that they might catch cooties from the other side.
The whole point of living in a community is to enjoy the sense of, wait for it … community. But if we can’t create one, we might as well just throw in the towel and find a new place to live, a new community.
If we can’t come together now to talk, to break bread, I wonder, what’s the point of worrying about this at all?
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