My wife and I recently moved to Whidbey Island from Southern California. Residents in our area have overwhelmingly proven to be welcoming and friendly, and we have reciprocated by expressing our gratitude to them for their kind acceptance of new faces in their midst.
However, while working in our garden last Wednesday, I was confronted by a male who accused and berated me for having desecrated California, and, by implication, moving to this island, no doubt to carry out further acts of destruction. This man was rude, belligerent and angry.
I was shocked by this incident, although I am aware of some deep-seated hostility toward “outsiders,” particularly ex-Californians.
I think that it is interesting to respond to this by respectfully pointing out that we outsiders buy homes, pay our taxes, spend our hard-earned funds thereby contributing to and supporting the economics of the community at large.
Many homeowners here have also benefited by the increase to the value of their homes bolstered by purchases by Washingtonians and outsiders.
If only this man had been aware of our history. I first came to Seattle in 1972 and lived in Washington for almost 30 years. My wife lived in Kirkland for 11 years. Individually and together we lived on San Juan Island, Mercer Island, Leschi, Clinton and Coupeville.
My goodness, we are almost homegrown.
A visit to the eastside of Lake Washington may offer this man little solace, as there are many thousands of people from all corners of our world displaying different colors of skin, religion and cultures.
Magnifying this, it is also worth noting that the tumultuous era of migration is about to begin. We will all have to grapple with the fact that a lack of drinking water and chronic drought will force many millions of people to flee vast areas of the world to seek safety.
All of this may make pale the overwhelming reality of outsiders coming here with good hearts and the very best of intentions to contribute to the happiness and well-being of this lovely, rather magical place on our earth.