I love this town. I’ve tried for years to not love it, but I really do. I have hopes and dreams that all revolve around this town. I have a son who was born here. I have a daughter on the way that will be born here. My wife was born here, just like I was. I hope that they grow to love their town as much as I do.
The problem is, loving Albany almost seems to require me to just ignore reality. It requires me to look past the sky high poverty, they racism stemming from more than just one ethnicity, the poor opportunities for employment, and a whole host of other things. However, the biggest thing I have to overlook is the division in our community.
When Albany was named the fourth poorest community in the United States, I sent an email to all the members of the Dougherty County Commission and the Albany City Commission. I got back a lot of answers for what the answer was. Some, like Commission Bob Langstaff held up Strive 2 Thrive as the answer, while others like then-mayor Willie Adams said simply that he thought Albany was a great place to live. No one is even on the same page.
What we need is to unite. As Americans, there is nothing that unites us like a bad guy.
Americans like to team up to take on a bad guy. World War II, the Cold War, post-9/11, all had us setting aside differences to pull against a common foe. That’s not to say that there weren’t any battles, because there were. That in inevitable.
However, we ultimately stood together. It was like a group of brothers who fight all the time. However, as soon as someone from outside the family decides to get into it with one of the brothers, he now has to face all of them.
What Albany needs is an enemy of sorts. We need someone to compete against. Having that “bad guy” will give us something to unite against. Then, we will have a reason to set aside differences and do whatever it takes to make Albany thrive again. Imagine different sides sitting down and working together to make things happen, rather than just sniping at one another?
Oh, I think there should still be battles to be fought. Those battles are what make this nation great. We fight for what we believe in. However, it would help to have that common enemy at the end of the day since it would help people to bury the hatchet a little quicker.
Frankly, this town has been divided for so long; I can’t help but wonder what else could possibly help us move out of the malaise this town has been in since Firestone closed its doors. Personally, I’m desperate. Aren’t you?