There's more than one answer to these questions pointing me in a crooked line. The less I seek my source for some difinitive, the closer I am to fine.
-- Indigo Girls
Some see the glass as half empty. Some see it as half full.
For the vocal minority of folks around here who live to throw their negative spin on anything they encounter -- and that would be anything: puppies, rainbows, Psy and his "Gangnam Style" video that is this generation's "Macarena," a gift horse, a winning football team, a beautiful fall day -- the glass is broken, filled with sour milk and has tiny shards in it waiting to hack away at the innards of anyone stupid enough to drink from it.
I'm no Sister Mary Sunshine, but, damn, is there anything that these people don't find fault with? It's like a very smart lady once told me: "The people around here would complain if you hung them with a new rope."
No one will argue that the metro Albany region has its share of issues. We can start with what anyone would have to agree is a dysfunctional school board/system and work our way from there. But even that maligned group is on its way to improvement. (Anyone who doesn't think the board will automatically get better the day that Anita Williams-Brown exits stage left and either Lane Price or Lorenzo Heard takes her place just hasn't been paying attention.)
And then there are the Water, Gas & Light Commission ratepayers who indignantly claim that the estimated $80 million to $100 million in credits being sent the utility's way through the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia is rightfully theirs. (Without, of course, considering folks who paid into that fund all those years but now get their utilities elsewhere. ... Should WG&L spend $50 million or so of its money chasing old customers down? And what about new customers who never paid a cent toward the deregulation hedge? Do they deserve to share in the largesse?)
We have people complaining furiously against a forward-thinking Long-Term Financial Planning Committee plan to use some of that MEAG money as an incentive to bring new businesses or grow existing businesses here, even while the rest of the state hails the plan as a "game-changer" that will increase our area's chances of economic development. Which would mean more jobs, a better standard of living, all those things most folks consider good.
Even as visitors from all over the state, as well as the nation and other countries, come here and speak glowingly of the potential of the community, our peculiar legion of doom and gloom can find nothing good to say. Who knows, maybe they were mistreated as children or their existence has become as mundane to them as it is to the people who have to listen to their whining and moaning all the time.
The election Tuesday won't really help things. Both sides are planning celebrations, but they're getting their complaints ready just in case: We wuz robbed! We'll never survive four years of (fill in the name of winning candidate)! We might as well pack up our belongings and leave this country (not a bad idea, by the way)!
I truly have no idea what it would take for some of the worst of these folks to acknowledge that somebody somewhere has done something good in this community; and I certainly can't convince them that even though the people who don't agree with them are no doubt wrong, they are not necessarily fools or morons or clueless or idiots or whatever other words of derision spring forth from their limited vocabulary.
I've certainly raged against the machine plenty in my time. But never, even at my most militant (like when I crossed my fingers once while saying the Pledge of Allegiance, my silent protest against discrimination ... yeah, stick it to the man!) have I seen the place I lived as a lost cause. And I've never quit believing that there's good in all people, especially south Georgia people.
And so, I'm left to wonder what it is all these dark messengers are trying to get across. I mean, after all, we got that Olive Garden that they were all clamoring for. Surely they're convinced now world peace can't be far behind.
Email Metro Editor Carlton Fletcher at firstname.lastname@example.org.