We, as a community, may well be screwed.
It’s true. You see, we’ve got some serious problems in this town, and I’m curious about whether or not our supposed leaders understand them enough to actually do anything. And I wouldn’t be upset if these “leaders” were saying things like “hey, we’re just going to make the problem worse. Government always does, so we’re leaving it up to you.” God’s honest truth, I could respect that since that’s generally my opinion on government.
But that’s not what they’re thinking, and what’s going on in their head may well mean we are good and thoroughly screwed. They’re not alone though.
So far, I haven’t seen any evidence of these efforts to bring jobs to the region. Not from the Albany City Commission, not from the Dougherty City Commission. Frankly, I haven’t seen it from the surrounding counties either, just to be fair. We are now, officially, one of the poorest communities in the nation. That will not change without a change in jobs around here. Cafes and retail stores aren’t going to cut it either, as the bulk of those jobs are going to be minimum wage and part time.
We also have a serious crime problem. Some have pointed out in the Herald’s SquawkBox that this increase in crime came on Chief Proctor’s watch. Yeah, but so did the even crappier than normal local economy. A police chief can’t do squat about that, and that is often tied to crime. So, if that holds true, new jobs would actually decrease crime…among other things.
The thing is, our supposed leaders have their head in the sand. Instead of pointing out how Chief Proctor and his department aren’t here to prevent crime, but to catch criminals (and I feel they’ve been doing a pretty good job of that in most cases), they say nothing. They leave the department hanging out to dry. While APD has earned a poor reputation based on past performance and behavior, this time they deserve a little support. But there’s nothing.
It’s not all on leadership though, truth be told. The people of this community have done far, far worse. Too many expect a savior to come forth and deliver this town into prosperity. It isn’t going to happen. It’s up to us. We are the ones who start businesses and hire people. We are the ones who have to make lasting changes, and not just by voting out idiotic leadership.
Take a look around. Think about who the real leaders are in this community. Who rallies support? People like Richard Thomas and Tim Coley with the Dougherty County Taxpayers Association are just two of the driving forces behind that organization. They could have just complained in the SquawkBox and let it go, but instead they and their friends in the organization did something about it.
Perhaps when you think of real leaders, you think of Bo Henry. Besides being one of the real success stories in Albany, he made headlines with his stand against the sign ordinance. His stand elevated the issue and made it a topic of conversation that could be overheard in restaurants and offices all over town, and forced the commissions hand to at least pretend to give it a second look.
Maybe you think of whoever else. But chances are that you know the real leadership in this town isn’t necessarily the people we elect, or who are appointed to silly boards with a cartoon character for a mascot. They’re people like you and me, people who truly have the ability to make lasting changes without governmental intervention.
Once those people are really identified, they need to step up, as well. But do those people know they’re the real leaders? Take a look around you. Find them, and then make sure they know. They can’t change things if they don’t know they’re instruments of change, now can they?
We can’t stick our heads in the sand and expect things to get better, and we can’t let others do it either.