Psychological Factors in the Threat of Eminent Domain

By Twyla Smith Subjective Value is the worth of a Home and Land to the family who owns it. This personal worth of Home has increased during the past two years with our sequestering in our homes due to the pandemic. We have made our homes our schools for home schooling, offices for working at home, and restaurants for preparing many of our family meals. Our home has been our safe spot when much of the world has felt unsafe.

We have invested in improvements of our houses rather than travel. We have drawn on memories created in our homes when feeling distant and isolated from those we love the most. This is our HOME.

The longer our home or land has been a part of who we are, the higher the subjective value. The harder we have worked to own and make our home and land ours, the higher the subjective value. If this is the last place we planned to ever live, the higher the subjective value. There is no Fair Market Value that takes any of this into consideration.

When these critical ideals of who we are and where we call home are not respected, Dignitary Harm occurs.

Dignitary Harm is the emotional reaction to the taking of one’s home usually involving outrage, resentment and insult.

“You Do Not Matter!” is the clear message to those threatened with having their homes and land taken from them. The feeling of being powerless against the government is a frequent response along with a sense of being a victim of schemes between the private sector and government. This is the reality many of us are facing.

A huge question is, “What constitutes a sufficient public purpose to justify a government taking your land, your home?” This question calls into clear focus the recently proposed turnpike by the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority (OTA) and the destruction of at least 600 homes and countless acres of land. What is the justifiable purpose?

This also calls into question, “What price will we all pay now and in the future?” There is the personal subjective price. There also is the price paid for the safety of our land, water, wildlife, rural culture, and the air we breathe.

There has been huge public outrage in the past in our country about the wrongful use of Eminent Domain. This outrage is uniform across political party, income level, age, gender, race and educational level.

What is wrong is wrong.

What OTA is proposing is very, very wrong hence the loud public outrage we are experiencing and in which we are participating.

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