A number of people wrote the Deseret News in response to my letter. Most seem to have missed the point, which was not to demean the citizens of one part of town but to criticize an attitude that is creeping into every community in our city.
Salt Lake City is in a building mode. But we need to be careful that our new library, courthouse and Olympic facilities do not become whited sepulchers.Are we all doing a perfectly good job of raising kids, preventing crime, helping people get off welfare, pursuing good sportsmanship? The defensive posture of some letter writers seem to say they feel we are. Why not admit our own individual efforts have not been enough?
We have beautiful ideals about families, schools and libraries, but reality confirms these institutions are in deep trouble in Rose Park as everywhere else. We boast of the Olympic ideal of good sportsmanship, but reality demonstrates the ugly spectacle of owners, players and coaches acting much below that ideal in our city.
Why continue to brag about big accomplishments in our communities when almost every important social indicator tells an embarrassingly opposite story? Why not change our "all-is-well," self-congratulatory, even celebratory attitude, to a "boy-have-we-messed-up" attitude? Why not thank critics who point to our feet of clay?
We have got to do much more than build bigger buildings. We've got to build better people.