Editorial: Escaping the clutches of our apathy

Nov. 05, 2013 @ 04:56 PM

It is sad when a riddle is so easily answered.

How many speakers were there at four public hearings on the same night? Most would guess zero, and most would guess absolutely correct.

Our community is quickly labeling itself without trying. That’s no surprise either. The label is apathy. How fitting.

When it comes to involvement, we’re struggling to get out and get in.

Plenty of complaints can fly when the graduation rate is zipping down to the bottom of North Carolina’s rankings, but there wasn’t a single contested school board seat last time out.

Meetings are held for the county commissioners and City Council, but only those with business before each are attending, save for less than a handful. Economic Development Council? They just need seats for themselves, yet there’s plenty of moaning about a lack of job creation and tax base expansion.

In a true story of the last calendar year, citizens got in front of government entities about blight in the extra-territorial jurisdiction. Painfully slow as it has been, there’s now movement to address it.

Our community has long been evolving. We have been an incredible spot on the map at various times in the last 100 years, the envy of many. A great deal of that was before many very welcomed changes, like integration or the building of Kerr Lake.

We had heydays since, with major manufacturers and headquarters of strong businesses. Agriculture was a force. Families were raised here.

While we may not be headed back to some of those exact glory days, we are going somewhere. We won’t remain stuck in neutral, or tumbling in reverse or unable to get out of first gear — depending on the current view.

Just as before, we’re going to evolve and change. We’re going to both create history and be history.

But how those chapters are written will indeed be up to those of us who call this place home. It’ll be those with 24/7/365 use of the infrastructure, the schools, the amenities, the downtown and the countryside.

It’ll be done by those who escape the clutches of apathy, who participate in all things Henderson and Vance County. And it can be all of us.