Surprised over the furor of the King County Library System annexation vote? I have been. As chair of the pro-statement committee I’ve been in the heat of the battle to annex the Library. But this week, I decided to remove myself from the fray for a short time and hover at 30,000 feet to see this issue from a more detached point of view.
Why is this a big issue? Why does (not) controlling our own library rouse so many deep emotions? Did we make such a big fuss over Starbucks coming to town? After all we’re not controlling our own coffee consumption. Why no emotion over that? How about Safeway or QFC or Walgreens to name a few multinational corporations that now take up space in our town?
Is it because of giving over the fire department to Fire District 28? Or is it a deeper issue? Is it the illusion of control that we who live in a small rural town believe we can avoid the changes that are happening all around us in our nation and the world? Is it due to the illusion of self-sufficiency that we who don’t live in big cities hold?
I ask these questions because when I first came to Enumclaw to live on a 10-acre farm south of town in 1978, I came in part because I wanted to be able to grow my own food and raise my own meat—to be self-sufficient. After I shoveled manure and fixed barbed-wire fences for a while I began to think: Where does the barbed wire come from, or the fence posts, or the grain I fed my cattle with during the winter? They’re all imported into Enumclaw from somewhere else!
Being self-sufficient is really an illusion because we are so dependent on so many things outside of our city or even our region or our nation—Think gasoline.
That’s when as I mentally hover at 30,000 feet above Enumclaw I find myself being bemused by the furor and the fear that has been generated by the upcoming vote on library annexation. Is it really such a big deal to be incorporated into KCLS? If we aren’t upset that we don’t control our Starbucks coffee or the food we eat from Safeway and QFC, why do we get so upset about having KCLS control our library?