Albany is a city of many problems. Yes, I make my living pointing most of those out. Yes, I blast the City Commission, County Commission, and the School Board with equal regularity. However, the real problem with Albany is something that the government can’t really do a whole heck of a lot about.
Much of the problem here in town stems from the people in it.
Albany is full of hard working folks. We all know them. In fact, the vast majority of people who read the Journal are those people. Unfortunately, we seem to be a minority.
This is a town that has a culture that shuns hard work. They try to take the “easy” way out, whatever that means to them. For some, it’s to rely on government handouts for their daily bread. For others, it’s crime. The irony is the “easy” way out is a whole lot harder in the long run.
So what do we do about it?
Unfortunately, I doubt there’s much you or I actually can do, at least with these folks. They’ve already made their bed, so they’re kind of stuck lying in it.
What we need to do is target the next generation, the one that still has a chance. They need to learn the value of hard work, and the pitfalls of the “easy” way out. We need to convince the parents of these kids to monitor what kind of role models their children hold onto. After all, a successful child will be able to do more for aging parents than a child doing his third stint in prison.
There are programs thatcan help. Organizations like the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and Big Brothers & Big Sisters can help change a child’s life, but there’s a problem. Someone has to get the kid into the organization in the first place. That’s where any group fails. You just can’t change the lives you never get to touch. It’s not their fault either. Anyone with a halfway functioning brain can tell that there’s nothing they can do.
Until the segments of our community that foster these kinds of people decide to change, it’s doubtful we’ll see anything that will make our community better. The City Commission and County Commission can’t legislate this, and while the school system has the best shot at making this happen, their hands are pretty well tied. Kids take home their learning, and it’s countered by their environment. Even if they tried, they would probably fail, and that’s not a knock on them for once.
So, instead, we’ll see the flight of people to surrounding counties while Dougherty County continues to flounder. City and county leaders will try to offer the services people demand, so taxes will increase. This will send even more people out of the county. It’s a vicious cycle.
It’s not a good thing at all, but can it be fixed?