Wednesday, September 29, 2010
So, what do we do? Do we just lie down and concede defeat? Do we turn a deaf ear to the detractors? Or do we say nothing and become what they say we are?
A maelstrom of controversy came about recently after it was discovered that one of our surrounding bedroom communities allegedly planned to have a "residents only" festival in its city—a "Freedom Fest" they call it.
As you all know, I'm one of our city's biggest and most vocal champions. So I was chomping at the bit to have at this issue.
The mayor said it will be patterned after a similar event in Franklin, Tenn. Incidentally, city officials in Franklin say they have no knowledge of any such "residents only" event taking place there. Outside of such a festival being strange on several levels, it doesn't come as a surprise to me that those around us are willing to show their hand more openly.
As Jacksonians and "Projacks" begin to gain more confidence in our city, we will see others draw more lines. As we begin to refute negative and false propaganda, as we begin to see the good and prosperous projects our city has on deck, as we begin to act as a capital city, it will begin to make our neighbors, who have capitalized on our self-doubt, more uneasy.
I liken it to the Psalm of David. I'm no biblical scholar, but an interesting story is still an interesting story.
In the Bible, David's successes instilled fear and hate in King Saul. So much so that Saul sought to have him killed. But the people who David championed protected him until he could take his rightful place as King. And Saul? He perished in war, a victim of his own karma.
Those around us, whose success comes from the opportunities we, as a capital, have provided, may take pause at our renaissance.
I know many of you out there who are frustrated. I spoke with a fraternity brother of mine who is all but ready to give up. He says he's exhausted trying to defend and promote a city to people who refuse to see the good right before their eyes. I, too, know it's hard debating someone who doesn't live in your city and doesn't want to have his or her opinions swayed.
Many of our detractors have never been to Jackson. A percentage of them have formed an opinion based on what they've read or been told by others. Another set of naysayers cherry-pick events and hold them up as rule instead of exception. But we mustn't give up now.
We are too close. And best practices dictate that we never turn a blind eye or ear when events like "Freedom Fest" take place.
No, we mustn't ignore it.
We must call out elitism and separatism anytime it threatens our metro area. We must challenge those who use the terms "freeloader" and "hard-working taxpayers" as euphemisms. An injustice anywhere is an injustice everywhere. It's asinine to think that non-suburbanites are so poor and so uncouth that they'll drive to a neighboring city for a free hot dog and a coke. It's actually laughable.
It makes me wonder. What if Jackson decided to go "residents only" in several instances? Hmm.
And that's the truth ... sho-nuff.