When the last child cries for a crust of bread, when the last man dies for just words that he said, when there’s shelter over the poorest head … when the last thing we notice is the color of the skin, and the first thing we look for is the beauty within … we shall be free. – Garth Brooks
If you’ve followed this column for any length of time you know I’ve often used it to share my opinions about the degradation of modern-day society. Given my concern however of being like the boy who cried wolf, I’ve attempted to make such columns infrequent so as to be certain you are neither bored nor tired by what you read. On the other hand, I’d rather tell you more than less especially since the problems only continue to grow.
By now you know of the mass murders in El Paso and Dayton. You also know of the heightened level of palpable anger and vitriol in these days that have followed. You may not know though that a similar amount of violence happens weekly in a variety of cities throughout the country. Whether Chicago or Baltimore, St. Louis or Memphis, violence in America is an epidemic and we all should be aware of it.
Waxahachie, on rare occasions, has been impacted by violence. It’s rare not by accident but because of who and what Waxahachie is. I’ve used this space to write frequently about that, as well. Chicago is Chicago because of a lack of leadership … in the home and in City Hall. Waxahachie is Waxahachie because of, generally speaking, strong leadership … in the home and in City Hall. In addition, Waxahachie has extraordinary first responders, nearly 100 churches espousing the value of Godly principles, a substantial volunteer base, a vibrant economy and quality schools led by quality administrators. You may find a ton of churches in Chicago but in most other ways that city is the antithesis to the place we call home. Neither place is in its current condition by accident and both are the places they are through purpose.
The problems facing society are the result of America’s social boundaries finally snapping. Indecencies covering the jagged tundra of society’s landscape have permeated nearly every aspect of life and lives are being lost in the process. El Paso and Dayton are the well-publicized examples but there are abhorrent things happening every day. I’ll certainly agree that it’s hard to fathom how a 21-year-old can walk into a Walmart and kill people. It’s equally unfathomable how cities once vibrant and appealing have become killing fields, beset by drugs, havens of impurity and conduits to human trafficking. None of it exists or happens on impulse but rather from a society-at-large evolving into a free-for-all culture. That we now have to worry about who’s lurking, what stores are safe to enter, are our kids protected from constant danger … is sick and yet it only gets worse.
Here’s what I know – Waxahachie has discovered that by helping others, everyone is helped. While there are those in need in this city, it’s only a matter of making the need known before the compassion found in Waxahachie is expressly given to meet those needs. That’s what separates us from the crime-ridden, greed-filled places we read about. As a growing community to which much has been given, we must be known for our desire and commitment to make certain our boundaries remain firm and that those less fortunate are as important as any. Therein defines the greatness of this city and why we should all feel blessed to call it home. I know I do. May we never let skin color, economic status, belongings and titles ever change us from being a city of compassion.
In being so we are, indeed, free.