I live in a managed community that has a homeowners association. I pay a monthly fee and they take care of the community and provide for common use items like play structures, roving (unarmed) security, a pool and a gate at the front road. I have no idea who is in charge. There are elections to elect them. I’ve never voted. I had to opt in to the association when I bought my house.
Yesterday evening when walking back from the park with my son, I noticed that they were removing the lawn in parts of the park and replacing it with drought resistant plants. This will make those parts unusable for kids to play in. They appear to have salvaged the majority of the lawn at the end of my street. But, I’m not sure.
Here’s the thought that walk generated:
I view that space, 50 feet from my home, as a value to my home as it off sets my small yard and allows for a place for my children to play within view from my yard. I don’t know if it’s about to go away in service to saving on irrigation costs. And I don’t know because I don’t pay attention to anything besides paying my bill to my homeowners association. If that space went away tomorrow, it would have a material, daily impact on my life. I don’t pay any attention to the forces at work in that decision. And I have no good reason. I just don’t.
I also couldn’t tell you who the members of my local school board are. Who the members of the city council in my town are. I know who the mayor is because I googled it last month when an old friend of my wife asked if he could put a sign in the yard when he decided to run against her in this year’s primary.
I don’t know who the chief of police is in my town.
I don’t know who my state legislators, for the state that has the fifth largest economy in the world. I know little about my state constitution.
I have a near encyclopedic knowledge of the government of the United States of America and it’s History. But I pay little attention to the things that impact me everyday, like whether or not the homeowners association is going to rip out the park next to my house.
I’m likely an extreme case. My suspicion is that I am not alone though. And I wonder how much of our problems might have better outcomes if that weren’t the case.