Local Commentary

Editorial: ‘A Mission to Do Good’

“We view our jobs as a mission to do good in the world, bring positive change, and to serve and enhance our communities.”

Who talks like that in our society anymore? Non-profit do-gooders? Bleeding hearts? Religious missionaries? Probably…but real estate developers?

The quote is found in the middle of a letter to the vice president for operations of Virginia Tech signed by principal representatives of the groups the City of Falls Church has chosen to develop its 10.3-acre portion of the high school/middle school site — EYA, PN Hoffman and Regency Centers — collectively known as “the West Falls Church Gateway Partners.” It accompanied their initial submission to bid on development of the 7.4-acre Virginia Tech site adjacent the campus 10.3 acres.

In this time, when Trumpian is an apt synonym for dystopian, such confessions stick out and, in fact, the times call for more people and institutions to make such public affirmations in explicit contradistinction to the prevailing trend. Of course, it is in keeping with our times that such comments are met with derision and guffaws. It’s like our culture has become overrun with schoolyard bullies who smirk and trash any genuine expressions of good intentions.

The assumption is that everyone is governed by selfish self-interest and nothing else, and that in this context to suggest an altruistic motive is immediate cause for suspicion. Holiday sentiments, like schmaltzy carols and movies (“It’s a Wonderful Life,” “Elf”) are tolerated for a brief time like a reverse form of Mardi Gras before Lent, a fantasy time to blow off steam before returning to the unhappy rigors of a darker world.

It is sobering, indeed, to examine the trends responsible for a world that has become so cynical that it could elect Trump. Wall Street, for one, doesn’t give a hoot if he’s a lifelong corrupt organized crime tool, because it is full of people just like him, or trying to be, whose only motivating factors in life are two: 1. Bottom lines, without regard for how you get to them; and 2. Not getting caught.

This sentiment can be attributed to the modern curse of “postmodernism,” a worldview that rejects love as anything but a constraint for the stupid and acknowledges that only power and the pursuit of pleasure are legitimate forces to rule our lives.

It accounts for our editor’s oft-repeated observation of the shift in the national paradigm from Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech of 1963, where he affirmed that people should be valued for the content of their character and not the color of their skin, and the Gordon Gekko speech from the 1987 movie, “Wall Street,” about how “Greed is Good.”

America’s ruling class stunted the civil rights movement with hedonism, including the rampant proliferation of drugs and prison incarcerations.
Here’s to fighting back. Happy holidays!