We were recently traveling with three esteemed business (and civic) leaders whose names and companies would be well recognized within the professional community and to thousands of past and present employees.
During a lull in the conversation, we lobbed our first question:
“What do you think of Lancaster General Hospital building a new hospital in West Earl Township within three miles of Ephrata Community Hospital?” Responses: “Dumb.” ” Stupid.” ” Unneeded. A misuse of money just because they have it.”
We followed by asking “What do you think of the proposal for streetcars in downtown Lancaster?” Similar negative responses and some laughs at the idea.
In passing, the name of a leader of a public organization came up in the conversation. “My family has known his family since I grew up. He’s a wonderful boy.” There was no awareness of the great harm to the public to which the “boy’s” ignorance and ambitions had recently contributed.
Finally we asked them to contribute Letters to the Editor, sent and published anonymously, so that the public would benefit from their well reasoned and informed thinking. Polite silence.
The lesson: You can steal, you can cheat, and you screw up in Lancaster. No one born and bred here is likely to criticize you. All that matters is the warm feelings of having shared a childhood and youth together and maintaining one’s place as part of the ‘respectable’ establishment.
The predators among us well understand this and they take full advantage!