Why We Are the Reason Amsterdam Sucks
Respondents who chose anywhere from 1 to 6 were grouped together as “detractors”, 7 to 8 as “passives,” and 9 to 10 as “promoters.” What the survey revealed was that the percentage of “detractors” was far higher than the national average, and the number of “promoters” was far lower.
In regards to the percentage of “promoters” within the county, Ossenfort said, “When you compare those statistics to the national average, it was significantly below, so it’s clearly identified as an issue.”
“What was glaring to us was the perception that people within the county have is worse than the ones outside the county looking in,” said Rose.
The final report does not differentiate between different municipalities within the county, however Rose said, “When North Star was out there, they really saw the negativity within the City of Amsterdam compared to when they interviewed individuals that were not from the city of Amsterdam.”
Oddly, what prompted me to remember this is a recent exchange involving the minions downtown. What struck me was not so much the predictable back-and-forth on the decision to paint the minions (was there ever any doubt as to their fate?) but the persistent, systemic negativity surrounding all things big and small in the city.
Now, any time you point out the problems with the negative attitudes and culture of negativity here, you are instantly labelled an idealist, a dreamer, wishful thinker, do-gooder who fails to see the city for what it really is. In other words, if you see the negativity as a problem that keeps progress from happening here, you are dismissed with one of the labels above. And the predictable end result is that good ideas and good people who might actually bring forth some positives never even get a chance, or if they tried, they serve as examples to dissuade others from trying. Why bother doing anything if you face nothing but negativity?
There is an ever growing list of volunteer efforts to bring a little cheer, a little hope to the city that are met with varying degrees of mockery, rejection and downright character assassination. (pun intended)
And what are the terrible offenses being committed: planting tulips? cleaning litter? painting whimsical characters? street art? Spring Fling? The horror!
Yes, the city has many problems — blight, poverty, infrastructure, and on and on.
And none of the things above directly fix that. But they do show people care, people take some pride, people have some talent , people want to help, people want to spread some cheer. It shows that beneath the problems , people are working in ways large and small to make a difference.
Admittedly the problems are hardly unique to Amsterdam. What is unique to Amsterdam is the distinctly negative attitude on dealing with them and moving on, moving forward. Just look at the numbers above — they are an embarrassment and we only have ourselves to blame.
Maybe we should all step up to the sink, splash some cold water on our faces and take a hard look in the mirror.