From The Editors: April 25, 2018
In the running
Marathon season is in full stride, and whether or not you actually own a pair of running shoes, there is an upcoming race that is going to affect you.
Humans aren't built for speed — we rank many slots below cheetahs and just a peg above dromedary camels among land animals in terms of our maximum velocity (23.4 mph) — but we are built for endurance. Evolutionarily, this was to our advantage because we could track prey over long distances or outlast even some of the most tenacious predators giving chase to us, thus avoiding becoming prey ourselves. Stamina is in our DNA, the ever-beating compulsion to stay alive, to keep going.
A sense of direction, however, is often learned rather than inherited. Our missteps and all the resultant backtracking can precipitate the kind of shortness of breath and dizziness usually reserved for prescription drug warnings. Lest we unnecessarily exhaust ourselves, we ought to have a plan for where we are going and how and when we are going to get there. This applies to us not only individually, but also collectively.
Erie has been up-and-running for a good while now — it's been over 200 years since its founding (1795) and 150 since its incorporation (1851). But as it's aged, its issues and problems have begun to catch up to it. If our city hopes not to be devoured by them, it must become more nimble, more agile, and — as Democratic National Committee member and contributing author Ian Murray advocates — younger.
Two of the bigger races that will determine where Northwest Pennsylvania will finish are the midterm elections for PA District 16 in the U.S. House of Representatives (which Democratic candidate might unseat incumbent Mike Kelly?) and 2nd District in the State House (who will replace the retiring Flo Fabrizio?). Ben Speggen previews the names you will need to know for the upcoming May 15 primaries. Can our leaders outpace violence and addiction, crumbling infrastructure and economic decline and devise an optimum route to cut them off dead in their tracks?
Although we may tire, although we may suffer through aches and cramps, we carry on. Take it from the Niemeyer sisters, who are physically participating in the Bali Hope Ultra Marathon to raise funding for underprivileged Indonesian schoolchildren — because without an education, anyone is destined to crumple. Or from Dominic DeCecco, a local musician who has returned to the stage with renewed vigor after temporarily losing his passion.
Yes, despite our faults, people keep running back — to live (as detailed in Liz Allen's column), to start businesses (as did the Reader's own editors-in-chief after a dalliance with San Diego), and even to make movies (John C. Lyons is hoping to make Erie a film destination with Unearth).
We can get somewhere; we just have to step off the treadmill and put ourselves out there.