“The tendency to whining and complaining may be taken as the surest sign symptom of little souls and inferior intellects.” – Francis Jeffrey
The world is full of people, it seems, who have a knack for pointing out both real and perceived problems in most anything they encounter. The sad truth is that complaining is easier than solving, it has become an art form for some and an undeniable addiction for millions of others. Just this morning (Thursday), not long before I began writing this column, I witnessed a highly agitated man berate the drive-thru pharmacy clerk at Walgreens with a barrage of vulgarities and insults for all the world to hear. My desire to defend those under unwarranted attack, in this case the innocent clerk, kicked in and in a split second I became the target of the man’s bitterness. Defending someone in such a situation seems like the right thing to do although, in today’s society, I’m likely to get my head knocked off one of these days.
A similar scenario, minus the vulgarities, occurred Tuesday before last when I attended the city council meeting at city hall. There as one of many interested residents, I was eager to see the city get closer to passing its 2020-21 budget. All was well until I listened as a citizen, who happens to also be a candidate for city council in November, rambled on with his list of incessantly repeated complaints and immature, arrogant criticisms. Suddenly, the same buttons pushed by the ill-tempered Walgreens customer were firmly pushed by another mean-spirited, misguided complainer. Given the never-ending stream of complaints from the man, I was at the podium and speaking before I knew it. Why? Because the good being done in this city by people spending countless hours to make it great cannot continue being overshadowed by folks whose only desire is to complain about everything on the planet.
To be clear, although many of you likely know this by now, the city has lowered its tax rate by two cents to 66 cents per one hundred dollars of the assessed value of your property. In addition, the county has lowered its rate by nearly a penny and the school district lowered its rate by just under nine cents. All totaled, the decrease in your tax rate is a tad over 11 cents per one hundred dollars of your property’s assessed value.
Specifically regarding the city, while easy to get lost in the complexities of tax rates, property assessments and the like, what you should know is that of nine cities in and around Ellis County, Waxahachie’s tax rate is the lowest. The others range from 67 cents in Midlothian to 85 cents in Lancaster. The average tax rate of the nine cities is 72 cents – six cents higher than Waxahachie. That said, and there is much more to come regarding all the good happening in our city, had your only source of information regarding the tax rate been the aforementioned council candidate and his echo chamber, you would be left with an entirely different story – a story that has been spun, twisted and contorted for political advantage. Same can be said of the gift from Baylor, Scott & White of the old hospital and the land surrounding it to the city of Waxahachie. If you hear or read of anyone claiming the gift is nothing but an expense, you are being lied to and intentionally misled. Truth is, the gift will be of enormous value, monetary and otherwise, to the city and its residents for decades to come.
To be sure, there is plenty to complain about in this world. Society is screwed up, no doubt, and isn’t likely to get much better anytime soon. Even so, walking around telling anyone who will listen just how bad we think it is doesn’t help … in any way. Neither does denying the truth in order to hold tight to a negative narrative that, despite being false, enables us to simply keep complaining.
The city of Waxahachie is an example of what an extraordinary American city looks like. I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying it, especially as others continue trying to convince you it isn’t. That doesn’t mean, however, the city is perfect. Every city in which I’ve lived has had room for improvement. So has every company, every neighborhood and every person. The good Lord knows I can improve. Just because improvement can be made, though, isn’t now nor has it ever been synonymous with being lousy, corrupt or bad. It can often mean a company, place or person is attempting to transition from good to great. So it is with Waxahachie.
There’s much to appreciate about the city. As I told a new resident just this week, Waxahachie has most everything anyone could want and, if it doesn’t, the metroplex does. The city has kept its tax rate in check, is constantly improving its infrastructure and amenities, is focused on doing better in managing its rapid growth, is sensibly attempting to keep citizens safe, is seeking to bring quality businesses to town and it is responsible with its budget.
That said, the negativity devouring society, including Waxahachie, these days will change all of us if we allow it. It is more dramatic, salacious, entertaining for some and easy to create. Sadly though, the effects are subtle and the impact on the human spirit is damaging. Clinging to what we believe to be problems in life will assuredly prevent us from enjoying the good around us. If you find yourself clinging to the negative, let it go and begin to embrace that which is good.
You’ll feel much better, I promise.
Scott Brooks is the Publisher of the Waxahachie Sun and may be reached at 972-316-7712 or email@example.com.