OPED: Glen Rock 'Taps' advocate playing 'patriotism card'

Marcy Nicholas
York County

Even though I am not a resident of Glen Rock, I stand with those residents opposed to Councilman Joshua Corney’s practice of playing Taps every day through an outside speaker set up so loud that his neighbors can hear the music. Unfortunately, his neighbors are caught in a bind because Corney has power/privilege and has employed the rhetoric of patriotism to support his position.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017--Joshua Corney stands near the elevated speakers behind his Glen Rock home. The speakers amplify the playing of taps each night as a tribute to troops. The active-duty Navy sailor is at the center of a controversy as some residents object to the practice. Bill Kalina photo

Obviously, Corney has power. He is a Glen Rock Borough councilman. Yet, isn’t the job of a community leader to build community? Before he set up the speakers, did Mr. Corney visit with his neighbors and ask how they felt about his project and his vision? Was he willing to try it for two months and then get feedback from his neighbors? Did he consider any alternatives to his plan? Could he play Taps just once a week/month for others to hear and the rest of the time, play the music privately? For some reason, Mr. Corney assumed his neighbors value hearing Taps played every day at 8 p.m. for 57 seconds as much as he does.

In addition to power, Corney is playing the patriotism card, which goes like this: “If you don’t like listening to Taps every day at 8 p.m. for 57 seconds, then you are not patriotic in the same way that I am, and you should be ashamed of yourself.” In light of these two factors, how could any one neighbor come forward without being shamed in some way?

Patriotism or nuisance? Taps in Glen Rock causes controversy

This is the bottom line. Corney made a personal promise to himself that he is now imposing on others because he believes he has both the right and the power to do so.  He has set up a standard by which to judge his neighbors, regarding how they value the military, even though he has never talked to them about said values. What is good for him must be good for others.

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Although our culture leans toward a politics of the individual, we still live in community. And sometimes, we must consider that what is good for an individual may not be good for the community. It is not good for a community when I have broken down cars piling up in my driveway. It is not good for a community, if I build a shed right on my property line. It is not good for a community if those of us with wells pour out chemicals onto our yards. None of us has the right to do whatever we want to on or with our properties.

And as a borough councilman who must make decisions for the good of the community, Corney should know this. Since I doubt Corney will be an effective leader and truly reflect on how he approached this situation in the first place and why he is so emotionally attached to a personal promise that is actually doing more harm than good, I think the only recourse his neighbors have is to hire a lawyer.

— Marcy H. Nicholas is a York County resident.