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A merger analogy

HELEN E. PRIEN

Lock Haven

Let us just imagine that Philadelphia, Chicago, and Nashville are informed that to make those cities sustainable and forward-thinking they are to be merged.

This solution is proposed by a fourth body in a fourth location and pushed forward immediately.

This fourth body proposes that while keeping their “unique identity,” these three states will have one governor, one assembly, one civil service, one tax code, one infrastructure plan and so forth. Hmm. That sounds like consolidation of power and loss of autonomy to me, not to mention King Lear as governor. Now suppose that the current governors, assemblies, and civil servants of those three states with minimal buy-in and while working their usual full-time jobs, must construct the plan for transition in a single year during an unprecedented pandemic.

Shall we build our own flimsy scaffold upon which to hang?

So many questions. What about the citizens of Philly, the Windy City, and Music Row? The natives. What about the seasonal migrants who seek “a better life”? Are these places neighborhoods of support or strip malls of personal opportunity?

Will a corporate takeover REALLY benefit them in a tangible way? We cannot know the future results of an intended action. We can only guess, however “educated” that guess may be.

I appreciate the dialectic tension between tradition (some might contemptuously call it “status quo”) and innovation (some might say change for the sake of change). I appreciate that most reactions are dependent on our individual perceptions. I understand that many analogies break down at some point. I know that resistance from faculty and staff can be dismissed as hide-bound, self-serving job protection. I know that pressure from “the fourth body” can be dismissed as a power grab for the sake of ephemeral “trends.”

But really, at the end of the day, can we say that THIS is the BEST and ONLY way to solve the problems of the affected “states?” Right NOW?

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