People in the IF camp talk about whether or not Richmond will survive. They’re sensitive to all of the things that are wrong, all of the things that used to be right, and all of the reasons that things may never be good again.
People in the WHEN camp talk about a day when Richmond will be restored to some healthier, more vibrant state of existence. They’re hopeful that day is out there somewhere but wonder about how far off it might be, and don’t quite know what it’s going to take to get there.
People in the HOW camp talk about what we can do to make Richmond a better place to be. They take obstacles into account, but they’re ready to experiment, risk, fail, and build on small successes. They’re focused on the details, the process, and the potential benefits for the community.
I’ve been in each of these camps at one time or another myself.
It’s easy to be in the IF camp because you don’t have to do much beyond feel frustrated.
It’s a little less easy to be in the WHEN camp because there’s a nagging sense of obligation and missed opportunity, but you can always distract yourself with other things.
Being in the HOW camp is usually all-consuming; it can take every bit of time and energy you have if you let it, and some people burn out or lose perspective quickly.
There’s no right camp to be in.
Everyone chooses what works for them. Some people don’t have the luxury of thinking about or working on Richmond’s future at all.
But I think if Richmond is to survive and thrive, it will be because we reach a tipping point when enough people are asking themselves how they can be a part of making it happen.