EDITORIAL: A chance to be friends

The painfully insightful observation about American culture, made years ago by a visiting exchange student, still haunts us because of the hard ring of truth it carried. Asked by a reporter what overall impression the visiting student had about his host country, the student replied: “Americans are very friendly people, but they don’t make very good friends.”

His point was clear. As a rule, we Americans do well with smiles and small talk, and are quick to wave a greeting and share a handshake with the newcomer. But when it comes to developing significant and meaningful relationships in which the newcomer is welcomed into the inner circle of respect and trust, we’d rather walk away and look for the next handshake.

We often hear a similar observation from people who move into our community-even though they are not foreign born and are hardly distinguishable from us in any way other than their former city of residence. We’re a friendly bunch, they say, but it’s awfully hard to find true and full acceptance among us. Some folks have lived her 25 years and still feel like “outsiders.”

For that reason, we affirm the Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce for promoting neighborhood block parties in our community. The Quality of Life Committee is recruiting folks to organize such gatherings in 55 residential neighborhoods across the city during the next month or so.

Block parties are no magic solution, but they can be a tool for cracking the ice that builds when neighbors go their own way day after day after day.

It’s a chance for friendly people to become friends. -DR

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