America First as NIMBY for the Nation

Old neighbors in Philadelphia are objecting to a business that is expanding its hours and footprint:

Past residents of Chestnut Hill, through great effort, created a vision for the neighborhood. We owe them a great debt and we believe that we have a duty to be just as vigilant and visionary as our forebears.

Nearly 40 years ago, under the auspices of the Chestnut Hill Community Association, and well covered by this newspaper, a covenant was hammered out between the owners of the Chestnut Hill Hotel and its near neighbors on Ardleigh Street. This was no easy task. It took the efforts of hundreds of Chestnut Hill residents, city politicians, and the CHCA. The covenant runs in perpetuity with the property.

Such covenants are extremely important and should not be discarded or ignored in a willy-nilly fashion. Certainly, any attempt to supersede or challenge the covenant should be presented and discussed with the parties involved. Such was never done with the neighbors on Ardleigh Street. Only the heavy construction work we heard coming over the fence in the dead of night alerted us that something was happening. Now we are faced with a fait accompli, and our only recourse seems to spend thousands of dollars in legal fees to have our living covenant recognized. How is this at all neighborly?

As development proceeds in Chestnut Hill, all of us should be concerned about the abrogation of covenants. Ours is not the only such covenant here, and by acceding to the development whims at the Chestnut Hill Hotel property without any review, all such covenants are mocked and threatened. I appeal to the CHCA to take careful note.

Finally, the system set up to monitor local development, which includes building codes, zoning and the associated permits, are not to be ignored. All those seemingly petty requirements – the posting of permits, height restrictions, propinquity to elementary schools – are important. And again, the wider community should take note because what is scoffed at and ignored in our neighborhood is coming your way sooner or later. There is and will continue to be voracious demand for development in Chestnut Hill.

Given the demographics of the place, I assume many of these concerned residents are liberal politically and supported Hillary Clinton in last year’s election for POTUS. But imagine if these same people thought about the United States, its borders, and the expectations underwritten by the Constitution the same way that they think about their neighborhood and what threatens their way of life.

If they did that, would they really have trouble understanding people who voted for a president who campaigned to take borders seriously, to put national interests first, and who annoyed a lot of citizens who disdained rather than cared for Americans living in fly-over country?

Deep inside every American, conservative or liberal, beats a Not In My Back Yard heart. Why the outrage when the wrong side shows it has a pulse?

3 thoughts on “America First as NIMBY for the Nation

  1. Two points to be made here. The existence of a covenant between the hotel and its neighbors is a leftist practice. For the covenant itself was the product of a set of non-owning stakeholders and the owners meeting together and coming to an agreement. Thus, the covenant is a product of a socialistic venture.

    Second, this concern about our borders and who should be allowed in while failing to mention that many who emigrate to our nation are driven here by conditions caused by some of our foreign policies. IN addition, comparing the conflict between the hotel and its neighbors to what is involved with immigration seems skewed. While one deals with a broken agreement that had made things nice for the neighbors, the other often deals with survival. Why look at immigrants as a threat? Who are they threatening?

    We might also ask if those who support Donald Trump’s Wall knew that 20% of illegal immigrants came from non Latin American nations. So where else are we going to build a wall to keep them out or are Latin American immigrants the only ones we are concerned about?

    And before criticizing those who oppose Trump’s Wall, we might ask how Trump is paying for that Wall? He promised to make Mexico pay and many gullible conservatives believed that. So instead, he is cutting funds for infrastructure, medical research, scientific research, and programs to help vulnerable American in order to pay for his Wall. So perhaps we might ask who is providing the greatest threat to our borders. Is it Trump and his Wall, or is it illegal immigrants? In the meantime, contractors who build the wall will prosper. This should move us to ask which America was Trump referring to when he promised to put America first?

    Finally, since this is a Christian blog, why not ask whether national interests should be tempered by moral concerns?


  2. Curt, “since this is a Christian blog, why not ask whether national interests should be tempered by moral concerns?”

    Have you heard of 2k?


  3. D.G.,
    I have heard of 2K. And from what I have heard, my question isn’t out of line for individual Christians. It is out of line for the Church as an institution.


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