It's encouraging to see that New York state is decentralizing into regions. That's because as our founding forefathers knew, people who experience the result of their own decisions are better qualified to make sensible choices.
By contrast, we as a nation and as a state have been suffering much like a person going into shock; the fingers and toes turn blue because the little oxygenated blood is reserved for the heart and lungs. Even the brain may be deprived of what it needs to function coherently, causing a blackout.
We, the “fingers” and “toes” can and must adapt to the situation in a way that works, which is not by sacrificing our identity.
Having recently come from a more heavily populated area, I've noticed more than a few positive things about the people here. You tend to be more connected to family and relatives. When Old River Road in North Creek was evacuated due to flooding, nobody needed public emergency shelters; all the evacuees stayed with family and friends. People who rely on public services are so few and far between that the agency for which I work, providing home care for elderly clients, is hard-pressed to find enough work for me close to Minerva where my son and I live.
Back where we used to live, people are much quicker to expect public help, and the officials tended to practice less sense. That's part of why we moved up here. Those of us who had to work low-paying jobs to be there for our families suffered needlessly at the hands of authorities who didn't know the harm their ignorance caused. Trailers could only be placed in trailer parks. Officials wouldn't let us have porches big enough to comfortably hold a picnic table. Deer carcasses by the road were much more common than they are here due to hunting restrictions. And although we couldn't pay decent wages to the experienced cops who kept drifting to other towns willing to pay them what they were worth, we could somehow “afford” the huge, fancy high school my youngest graduated from before we moved north to freedom.
While we still lived back there, I did manage to teach the concept of personal responsibility to my sons by taking them on hikes in the woods. Whatever they thought was important enough to bring, they had to carry until we got back home.
Similarly, each region has different priorities and needs the freedom to decide, in this time of limited resources, which are worth carrying and how to take them. But as we all learned too well in the wake of 9/11/01, sometimes we just plain need help. It's wise to consider that our neighbors to the south could be stricken. Like a man who wakes up to find his house on fire, they may find that their “fingers” and “toes” are absolutely essential as they seek their own safety and that of their loved ones.
It's a good thing that we live in a place where friendly folks volunteer help and advice, whether your concern is dealing with a rabid dog literally in your back yard, or perhaps slaughtering a chicken. Up here, people don't just throw out foods they can't eat when they change diets, they give it to someone else like a friend from church did for us (to the tune of at least three weeks worth of groceries!). We live, and need to live, in a Good Samaritan community where people see a need and fulfill it, rather than shun getting their hands dirty to help a stranger in need.