Morality of Decision and Politics

In the short term, far more people will benefit from making a park instead of doubling the graveyard. Then over the next 100 to 200 years, there is absolutely no comparison! The Fidelity open green meadow could soon be filled up with another 2200 graves, possibly in as little as 15 years. Each one of those new graves will eventually be forgotten as family trees expand exponentially and descendants move away. In the meantime, generations of hard working hospital residents, grad students, and blue collar workers won’t have a walkable park in which to obtain rest and respite. People crowded into NC 54 apartments will have to drive farther to get to a park. If Carrboro instead sets up a beautiful new nearby rural cemetery, then most of the families who would’ve ended up using an expanded Davie graveyard would probably be fairly happy. The folks who are dug in on the expansion of Davie because of family connections could form as little as 2% of Carrboro’s population. The decision here boils down to logic versus emotions and the morality of (and courage for) the pending political decision: All council members understand the logic of the relative numbers and can understand the long term consequences when they stop and consider them. By deciding to expand they will make the folks in that 2% feel better, and by doing so a council member will make themselves feel better about themselves as a person. After all, who wants to feel like a they’re a mean jerk who is turning down an elder with strong feelings? But what right does that council member have to permanently deprive the tens of thousands of future as-yet unborn residents who would benefit from this park? Especially when the documented physical and mental health benefits of a nearby open green space are taken from those future residents?

Where is the morality in permanently depriving future generations of green space for rest, respite, and improved health just to make a small number of families a bit happier in the short term by satisfying their insistence for a particular graveyard location?

Overall, there does not seem to be high enthusiasm on the council for the Town to be in the graveyard business. Moreover, some members seem to not regard us as being fully valued human beings who are deserving of a park, since they have complained about how much it would cost to set up a new rural graveyard instead. When the various current stances of the seven members are combined, the situation appears to have amounted to the following: The procrastination of the Council and its reluctance to seriously consider a new rural graveyard has indicated that they don’t like having to deal with this question and they are not crazy about being in the graveyard business, especially not to the extent of operating a new cemetery. But at the same time, the Council lacks the courage to wrap up the Davie graveyard chapter in Carrboro’s story. Thus so far the “easy way out” for this Council has been to have put off even seriously considering creating a new park, thereby ignoring the well-being of the 500 to 1000 citizens at a time who will be living within a 10 to 15 minute walk of this open green space in the coming centuries. This procrastination and lack of vision has put this Council in the position of not having enough time to do anything other than to soon commit to expanding the graveyard. Do many of its members regard an expansion as being the less risky route in terms of the “optics” for the citizens who will hear only a thirty second sound bite on this topic? By following the path of least resistance they have avoided exacerbating the interpersonal tensions within their seven person world (wherein some of them seem to have ended up thinking of this land as belonging to the seven of them).

From the perspective of 150 years from now, what would a compromise “solution” here accomplish?

If our generation were to compromise just for the sake of compromise, it would accomplish absolutely nothing for our eventual descendants. Even a graveyard expansion by only a half-acre would permanently reduce the size and value of a park and just create more eventually-forgotten graves in the heart of Carrboro.

Thirty years from now, when the current council members drive by on Fidelity and look back in time, what do they want to see? How do they want to feel? Do they want to be able to take pride in having taken a courageous stand to create something beautiful for uncounted future generations, even if it meant increasing the levels of emotional discomfort for themselves and a small number of other folks? Or will they be forced to rationalize and make excuses, such as “Well, that was the only politically feasible course back then.”

We hope the council members reading this page will take a moment to step outside of themselves to reflect upon their own emotions, the emotions of their colleagues, and those of the citizens engaged in this issue and then question their own decision-making motivations:

From a 150 year perspective just how much weight should be given to the emotions of we contemporary mortal humans, who will soon move on from this orb?

GY3 CVDA Plan continues Graveyard?

GY1 Graveyard? was previous page