Our exceptionalism

We humans are fond of being unique. Throughout history,

“only we (humans, British, French, Americans, New Yorkers, Upstate residents, Uticans)

are uniquely

(good, kind, wise, bad, venal, corrupt, prone to argument)

and that’s why we have

(a wonderful community, charitable event, culture, crime, violence, poverty, societal decay).”

As presented and described to date, Downtown Utica’s new regional hospital is not, perhaps, a “unique” opportunity. But it comes close. Never before has a state investment of this magnitude been made in our region’s healthcare. And the public-private partnership is unprecedented. Certainly there are parallels, similar projects and plenty of downtown hospitals–some more successful than others–across the country and around the world.

With widespread support from governments, civic and non-for-profit groups, the new downtown hospital is certainly not what the few members of the “no” group say about it on Facebook and elsewhere:

“boondoggle, destructive, disaster, disastrous, evil, failed, fake, insidious, perverse”

nor are those who support the hospital, again quoting the “no” group:

“colluding, complicit, delusional,  destructive, evil, idiots, liars, stupid”

When first we launched this effort to bring both logic and comity to the hospital discussion online, we noted that one of the “no” co-founders was fond of invoking sir Walter Scott’s “O, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive,” a quotation known to every former schoolboy (and girl) of a certain age. A not especially subtle way of calling someone “a liar,” but a tactic that has given way to the vocabulary noted above.

This project, if not perfect or unique, embraces opportunity and promise that far outweigh its flaws. It, and its supporters, are not engaged in a unique “only-in-Utica-could-this-happen” conspiracy to hoodwink an unsuspecting populace. And as for quotes, we leave you with one less familiar than Scott’s, but appropriate to the occasion; one that speaks for itself.

“In words are seen the state of mind and character and disposition of the speaker.”

There is a great deal of wisdom in Plutarch.



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