Thomasville Times Enterprise

Opinion

February 22, 2014

It’s not just about money

According to popular legend, Nero fiddled while Rome burned. Sadly, a lot of folks in Thomas County are basically doing the same thing.

Do you talk about our area’s problems or believe that you know how to solve them? If so, what are you doing? Are you trying to implement your plan or, at least, sharing it with someone who can?

It’s past time for dreamers to unite with movers and shakers in an effort to solve local problems. Too much is at stake to stay on our current path of economic stagnation and moral decline. We owe those who lived here before us and those who will follow after we are gone to make this a better place.

In that vein, we are pleased that the latest citizens meeting was at least civil. While much more could have — and should have — been accomplished, it might at least be a starting point toward something of substance.

On another note, we have some harsh words of reality that might be hard for some to swallow.

Thursday’s meeting at the Thomasville Municipal Auditorium was the 17th since the initial one in November 2008. About a quarter of the previous gatherings were directly tied to money issues, mainly taxes. The rest centered on ideology and problem solving.

 The average attendance for the meetings concerning pocketbook issues was probably 400-plus. A couple hovered around 1,000. Meanwhile, the average attendance for the rest — about 150, the number at Thursday’s meeting.

 We can dance all around it all we want or care to, but the proof is clearly in the fiscal pudding. If money isn’t the core issue in the discussion, most people simply don’t care enough to participate. Interject money issues into the mix and there’s hardly a seat to be found and everyone wants to throw in their two cents. That’s a fact ought to bother each and every one of us. The problems we are facing as a community, state and nation are far deeper than just those that pertain directly to our wallets.

Admittedly, quite a few people didn’t attend Thursday’s meeting because they feared it would devolve into a verbal free-for-all — or worse. That didn’t happen. An occasional round of polite applause was about the only expression that came from the crowd at all. The folks came to learn about how those from the other side of the political aisle think, not to boo, hiss and squabble. They want solutions, not skirmishes.

In many cases, Democrats and Republicans desire the same things, including the best education for their children; proper health care; safe, smooth streets; job opportunities with a chance for advancement; and a clean environment. Both should work toward achieving these objectives rather than focusing solely on their numerous differences.

Instead of local Democrats and Republicans kicking each other, we would like to meet with them to kick around ideas for the betterment of the community. Maybe it’s at a weekly breakfast. Perhaps a monthly supper. Who knows? We are open to ideas.

The important thing to realize is that a seed of cooperation has been planted. Do we fertilize it with sincere action or let it wither in a drought of apathy?

The choice is yours.

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