Thoughts on class in Ashland, America
The front-page stories in the Tidings recently about the giant new winery built like a chateau and the opposite story about funding cuts for basic human services are really about what Ashland has become.
We've gone from a middle-class community that taught the world that one can make money from Shakespeare, to a destination resort that slowly fails to make Shakespeare from money. Ashland is becoming like any other resort town, a dreamland of rich and poor.
There was a quote at the end of the article on the winery where someone called it "classy." Really? The American idea of "class" has nothing to do with old-world charm, values, culture, because "class" is priceless. Class cannot be built, bought, born into, or bargained for.
Class is having good manners because you are aware and respectful of those around you. Class is knowing no one is better by wealth, education, hot new car or square footage of house. Class is coming to the rescue of all living things. Class is teaching children not to participate in our violent, inhumane, unjust world.
Class is knowing that both the server and served are uplifted by the lost ritual of good service for its own sake. Class is supporting a better world with "dignity and justice for all." Class is having natural color teeth because so many have no teeth at all.
America's best inventions are beyond mere class, some are: baseball, jazz, real news journalism now lost, and classic movies. Unfortunately, owning all the art in the world does not give the buyer class. Class is the generous, kind gesture that saves the day for a stranger or friend.
Class is helping the homeless, despite one's opinion. They sleep on the streets in winter and are begging, that's reason enough. There is little doubt that the homeless could live most of our lives if born to love and opportunity. But how many of us could survive on the streets? At least give them credit for their incredible ingenuity and stamina.
A suggest to the nouveau riche taking over Ashland: You came to the perfect town. Many on food stamps with Band-Aids holding their glasses together built it. Many on the City Council created and improve it. If you do not keep our parks, libraries, hospital, schools, social services and local newspaper alive — you will kill it. Support what you came for.
Leah Ev Ireland