The Right Note: Be A Good Neighbor

The Right Note is a weekly opinion column. The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of

Seeing all of the reports from the flooding throughout Arlington County yesterday reminds me of the responses Arlingtonians have made to previous natural disasters in the area.

In 2003, Hurricane Isabel wiped out power throughout much of the county and the region. However there were areas where houses on one side of a street had power and their neighbors on the other side had none. We live on one of those streets.

We asked a neighbor if we could run an extension cord across the street to run a few essentials, including a mini refrigerator to keep a few things cold, a couple of lamps and a fan for sleeping through a few warm nights. All of this came in especially handy as we had a toddler running around the house.

Soon, we noticed extension cords running all over the neighborhood. And then we heard stories of it happening all across the area as power outages stretched out for a week.

During one of the more severe winter storms a couple years back, a neighbor told another that his wife was in the hospital with late term pregnancy complications. Next thing you know, there was a small army shoveling out the street so he could get his vehicle out of the neighborhood.

These things happen regularly here in Arlington, not just in my neighborhood. It is what living in a community is all about.

Two weeks ago, the author of the Progressive Voice suggested Republicans represented a “cacophony of terrible.” It does not quite rank up there with Senator Barbara Favola’s 2017 line that Republican candidates were “evil”, but it does reflect a troubling partisan tribalism in our society today.

Both sides have been guilty of falling into it. But, this attitude is dangerous to the social fabric of our communities.

As neighbor helps neighbor again this week, may we all feel more connected and invested in making Arlington a great place to live, work and raise a family. May it also be a time to re-evaluate the emphasis we put on politics. And may it be a reminder to treat each other the way we want to be treated at all times, not just in times of crisis.

Mark Kelly is a 19-year Arlington resident, former Arlington GOP Chairman and two-time Republican candidate for Arlington County Board.

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