Biblical references permeate our cultural metaphors. I’ve been thinking lately about David and Goliath, which we often reference as a metaphor for the little guy going up against the bully-giant … and winning.
As the Sunday-school version of the story goes, David took down the giant with one strategically slung stone, nailing Goliath right ’tween the eyes. (The actual cause of death was beheading.)
The story mentions that shepherd-David developed his mastery of the slingshot by protecting his sheep from predators. But, was there more going on than the Sunday-school story tells? Was this really a mano-a-MANO fight out on some remote hillside? I think not.
How did this poor shepherd boy become the great king of the Israelites? Yeah, no … he wasn’t just a little shepherd boy. He was connected to people in power. Plugged in. (His “best friend” was the king’s son!) And he knew how to mobilize his network. He wasn’t alone on that field.
I’ve modified my storybook view of one little shepherd boy on a field carefully picking up his stones as the giant jeers at him. My view now includes a whole army of friends and others who are sick and tired of the Philistines destroying their world.
They are all fighting — either on the front lines or with guerrilla tactics. They have King Saul behind them, as it turns out — for better or for worse — who provides tangible resources.
Those of us who are heartsick over the rapid destruction of our environment and communities, and who are trying to stop the Goliath-developers from destroying our quality of life, might feel like little Davids out here. But we are many, we are strong, we are smart, we are skilled, we are coming together, and we have access to real power, too. We can stop the destruction, or at least guide it to a far better outcome.
I urge all of us to not lose heart and to remember that we are in this together, even when we feel like we are facing the giant alone. The big battles are brewing. We have assembled our resources. We are a force to be reckoned with.
The giants might think they can intimidate, taunt, threaten, or even incentivize some of us to undermine our cause, but they are wrong. We love our communities, and we will defend them. And if the “kings” don’t get our back, we’ll get new kings who will. That’s the beauty of democracy.
The Beresford Reserve proposal to redevelop the Sandhill (Southridge) Golf Course returns to the DeLand City Commission for a continuation of its first hearing in a special meeting on Monday, Nov. 22.
Cresswind DeLand is getting close to appearing before the DeLand City Commission for its Phase 1 site-plan approval.
So many other big proposals are popping up all across the county. Take heart, friends. We are together in spirit, and in the fields.
— Anderson is a professor of environmental science and studies at Stetson University, and chair of the Volusia Soil and Water Conservation District Board of Supervisors. She has been promoting sustainable community development for 20 years.