Communities are sensitive organisms; what constitutes one, how and when it is identified as such, and whether there exist any such entities, anymore, is of valid concern.
Is a suburb comprised of mansions constructed in the middle of an outlying tract of land, formerly occupied by a farm house, but where none of the neighbors know each other, seldom say hello, and never socialize, a community? Does there have to be some interaction between neighbors, of showing and evidencing some concern or interest in one another’s lives, hobbies, common interests and attractions, before we can point to an aggregation of homes and declare that it is a “community”?
The origin of the word itself implies a “with”-ness among and between two or more people; and, in order to call a group of people a “community”, does not the identification of a group refer to an entity separate and unique from the rest of those surrounding the identifiably distinct group?
Furthermore, communities reflected a uniques set of social characteristics; like a mirror which reflects a recognizable face, so a community manifested a pattern of social characteristics distinct from a separate group.
Once upon a time, perhaps there existed a Federal community; or, perhaps, a particular agency or department revealed a cohesive set of principles and goals which set it apart from others. For the Federal and Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition, and who finds him or herself no longer able to perform all of the essential elements of one’s job to full capacity, the harsh realization that one may no longer be able to continue with the agency — a community of sorts — is often a macrocosmic reflection of the micro-identifier of a mirror reflecting the future of one’s path.
Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether under FERS or CSRS, identifies the individual as somehow separate and apart; and what one saw previously in the mirror becomes a reflection upon the greater community one was once a part of, and no longer will be, like the disappearance of a social phenomena diffusely evident throughout the world.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire