A class war


To the Editor:

The past few weeks, I’ve been sucked into the comments of the mvtimes.com section of Letters to the Editor and other subjects. Most, not all, have left me saddened at the state of our community.

For those of you who saw last week’s comments (letters to the editor, March 10) from a “Mr. Pischer,” I saw firsthand a class war of sorts unfolding before my eyes. He exclaimed that those of us who live here are merely caretakers to those who really live here — the upper-class, seasonal residents who own land and $25 million homes. Most people, including me, were outraged. But some agreed.

He also spoke of the “loyalty” of his workers, and when some apocalyptic doom strikes, these loyal workers will be saved by his, and all his friends, private jets. Could this be true?

This week, in the “State of Housing: Martha’s Vineyard non-profits look forward” article, the people in the comments section were ready to draw blood. They say such things as: “Move off-Island if you can’t afford to live here!,” “Only town workers, teachers, social workers deserve these houses!,” “Take a look on their Facebook page, and see their expensive vacations! They don’t need a house!,” or my favorite, “Whats wrong with renting?”

As a candidate for affordable housing and Habitat for Humanity, [I believe] this is all ridiculous. Let me address these issues one-by-one:

My soon-to-be husband has steady work here. Why risk that by moving off-Island? I’ve lived here all my life (Yeah, I’m pulling that card), and I’ve tried living somewhere else and hated it. I love it here. He loves it here. We want to raise our child here. We choose to live here for the same reason you do.

If you really think only town workers, teachers, and social workers deserve these homes, you are sorely mistaken. What would this town, or any town, be without the construction workers? The gardeners? The plumbers? The mechanics? And to think, poor Mr. Pischer would have no one to do his yard work.

Sure, certain people who want/need affordable housing have gone on vacations. Do you really have that much time on your hands that you’re going to stalk their Facebook page and make sure they’re shopping at Stop & Shop and not Cronig’s? You don’t know the personal workings of their financial life.

What’s wrong with renting? A valid question. While it may work for some, to us, it makes no sense long-term. Why pay thousands of dollars a year into something you’re never going to own? It’s the American dream to own your own home; and while paying rent and utilities and food and gas, that dream just can’t happen for us.Someone also pointed out that someone who is living in affordable housing has all these brand new, expensive, fancy things in their yard. I’ve heard of this person, and sure, they may or may not be abusing what Island Housing Trust really means to do. But don’t let that one person’s misdoings ruin it for the rest of us who are really trying to do the right thing.

What has taken me most by surprise is the lack of community I’ve seen. Every day on my daily outings, I am engulfed in love and support from this community. That is what keeps me here. Because, trust me, if it wasn’t for that, the price of this Island would have driven me away some time ago. My father speaks of his love for the sense of community here; but sadly, while reading these comments, my trust and faith in this Island has been shaken.

While I may have a inclination toward construction workers, the outpouring of hatred toward them and others in the laboring field makes me sick. You seem to have forgotten what and who makes up this community. Gardeners, doctors, teachers, single mothers, single fathers, shop owners, waitresses, trash men, lawyers — the list could go on and on. Every one of us who lives here, year-round or not, makes this Island what it is.

We have a community here like nowhere else I’ve ever been. Just don’t forget who makes up that community.

Raleigh Russell

West Tisbury