In a long life, some of it spent as a teacher, I've often heard the phrase "why don't they...?" and often followed up with "who are they?" in regard to a lot of things, and nowadays in reference to historic preservation. I think I can help with that.
They are us. And that includes everyone from someone like me, who just speaks out about historic preservation, to people in positions of authority in government, people in business, and average citizens who just care about their community. Here in Phoenix, they're friends of mine, doing what they can.
If you're frustrated by people who rant about what "they" are doing, and don't seem to have any idea how things actually work in the world, please relax. There will always be people like that, and while many may change their minds in the future, chances are they'll do it with an argument that will be bad for your nervous system.
Speaking for myself, I've known that there's no "they" since I became an adult. Call me a pessimist if you want to, but I know that there's really no group of geniuses (evil or otherwise) who are responsible for making things happen. It's just people. And since I've known that for, uh, more years than I care to admit, I've always wanted to be someone who makes the world a little bit better. I'm no miracle-worker, but I can help. I have thousands of historic Phoenix photos which I give away every day, and I write in this blog to help get the word out. It's not much, but it's what I can do.
If you're concerned with something, from historic preservation to being kind to animals, there's a lot you can do. You don't need to be rich, or famous, or anything like that. And no, it will never feel like you're doing enough, that's just the way it is. But great things are done with tiny steps, and to quote a Chinese proverb, many hands make light work. So, whatever you can do will help. And the first thing you need to do is look in the mirror, because that's "they". Hopefully you already know that.
Thank you for helping to preserve historic Phoenix!
Image at the top of this post: The 1897 Charles Pugh House, 362 N. 2nd Avenue, Phoenix, Arizona. As of this writing, it's still there.
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