Communities need to shape up or continue to decline

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Let’s get one thing straight right from the outset. The government and the political party which is using it as its tool has let the country down horribly. It has created mass unemployment and mass poverty.

The result is that not only cities but communities are under siege from thousands of homeless people. There is much sympathy for the poor and the homeless. It is a very bad thing to despise the poor.

Okay, let’s get on with communities. The homeless have flooded into communities looking for shelter and food. Some of them also beg on the streets. Terrible, but this is the reality.

At night they find shelter outside people’s homes, in public spaces, anywhere in fact where they can rest their tired and hungry bodies.

No one can remove them because the government won’t allow it and the government itself does absolutely nothing for the poor.

Moving on, unfortunately there are dangerous elements among the homeless. A minority criminals stealing and killing people and arsonists burning up mountains and houses. This is not only in the Cape but is to be found all over.

Some homeowners, particularly wealthy ones, believe they can live and reside in isolation from their local community. They can buy security, they can buy high fences, they can buy alarm systems to keep the people out.

Too many homeowners are killed in their homes because of the high crime levels in the country.

Wouldn’t it be better if all the residents, including the very rich, get involved in their communities?

I’m not going to suggest anything here and talk about neighborhood watches or community forums or things like that. I think everybody knows those platforms exist.

The point here that I wish to make is that community strengthening can help with some of the problems that are increasingly occurring in communities through collective action and liaising with the authorities. That might sound naive in the extreme because the authorities appear to have no interest. However, if communities keep pushing, they can get results as has been shown in some communities all over this country.

People may think they can live in isolation, but it’s a dangerous course of action. A sociologist a couple of decades ago wrote a book about “Bowling Alone”in America. People used to gather at the bowling alleys, but those communities are now broken. People don’t bowl anymore together.

“Bowling Alone” by Robert D. Putnam explores the decline of social capital and civic engagement in American society. Through extensive research and analysis, Putnam argues that over the past few decades, Americans have become increasingly disconnected from their communities, participating less in traditional forms of social interaction such as attending clubs, volunteering, and even bowling leagues, hence the title. He attributes this decline to various factors including technological advancements, suburbanization, and changes in family structure. Putnam highlights the importance of social capital for the well-being of individuals and society as a whole, and offers suggestions for how to revitalize civic engagement and strengthen community ties. Overall, “Bowling Alone” serves as a thought-provoking examination of the state of social cohesion in modern America.

Does this ring any bells for you in this country?

As I said up front, I don’t have the answers except to say that strong communities are important and will grow increasingly important as the country slips into further decline.

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