There are many things that make a local society into a community with an identity. We all know areas that we would not want to walk the streets and we all know areas that are just the type of place we would like to settle down and raise a family.
Some communities are fertile grounds to plant your family tree; they have the characteristics and elements you seek. The environment and visual sense of beauty is pleasant, but the environment is more than just the natural world around us. The environment is also the conditions; circumstances and situations that a community accepts and fosters that can bring a foundation of strength and moral character to our lives and provide character lessons to our youth.
Moral character of a community like the character of a man is not found in a single act, it is built over time. No man and no community is perfect, there are flaws to be sure, but when we rationalize those flaws to somehow make them acceptable we weaken our strength as a society. We turn the soil beneath our family tree from the loam of strength in which to grow to a softer mud. Our roots find weakness in the mud and our next generation will not become the mighty oak of morality but rather a malleable tree perched along a slippery slope easily pushed into the abyss by ill winds.
If a community is to be desirable and strong in a moral sense, it must be as consistent as possible in what it believes to be acceptable behavior. The citizens have a responsibility to one another and to the next generation to maintain the moral character of the community. Elected and appointed official are entrusted by their neighbors to act and protect the environment and moral character for the community as a whole.
It is not always an easy task to step forward in the face of adversity, and to choose the right path but it is that consistency, and objectivity that leaders must have, especially in the protection of the moral character of a community. To be sure compassion, fairness and balance must have weight but there can be no compromise on ethics and morality. Leadership does not consider or react to the winds of gossip, pandering political positions, or opportunities for self-promotion. Good leadership acts on facts and takes action based on ethics, doing what is right to safe guard the moral foundation of their community.
In small towns and close communities it is not always easy for leaders, there are friendships, relationships and eyes from every side watching and second guessing what you do. While leadership is elected or appointed it is not there to act for those friends or relations, leadership is there for the good of the entire community. Leaders must accept that responsibility and act accordingly or expect that their leadership will be questioned by those that would take the high road to protect the foundation and moral character of the community.
If your neighbor slips and falls surely you would reach out to help and so it should be. Helping and accepting neighbors is part of a strong community, surely you would not turn your back because they now have a limp in their gait, for each of us is frail in our own way.
Tolerance and acceptance have a place in every society but should not undermine the basic foundation of moral behavior. We need not agree on all things but can we agree on good ethics and high morality as a standard for our community with acceptance of our neighbor on some level as part of the equation?