as published in the Blytheville Courier News on Friday, February 19, 2016
“You either have to be part of the solution, or you’re going to be part of the problem.”
— Eldridge Cleaver
The recent argumentum ad captandum (argument designed to please the crowd) between myself and a columnist in the Jonesboro Sun where I defended Blytheville and where the other columnist defended his statements that “Blytheville has imploded” and that “all criminals are moving over here because there’s nothing left in Blytheville to steal” has devolved into an argumentum ad odium (argument to spite) and is in danger of becoming an argument ad nauseam (argument to the point of disgust).
However, before we walk away from this topic, it is worth noting that the passionate responses that I have heard or read as a result offer an excellent lesson for each of us.
There have been two polar opposite responses that I have witnessed: one of offense that someone could publicly say such unfair things about our hometown and the other is the Eeyorish whining of arm chair quarterbacks that have nothing better to do than to complain about their city, as if it elevates them somehow.
Most are from the former, but the ones that bother me are from the latter.
Community leaders and good citizens are those that are in the business of edifying others, equipping others and helping others realize their full potential, whether individually and collectively. The greatest people are those that can recognize the potential within a people, cast a vision for what they can accomplish, edify them into believing in themselves and equip them with the resources or skills necessary to bring their God given callings to pass.
Did you know that when you transport crabs, you don’t have to put a lid on the container? Can you figure out why? The reason is quite simple. If any of the crabs see another one climbing to higher heights or about to do better than the rest (by escaping), they all grab hold of the advancing crab and pull it back down. Clearly, humans all too often act same way, but not all do.
“Crabby people” are those losers that act in the same manner that the transported crabs above do. They have no real ambition of their own other than to sabotage or pull down those around them that are attempting to improve their position.
They certainly do not contribute to anyone’s betterment. They do, however, sit back and tear down and pick apart any attempt to break the status quo.
Too many of these people are just plain cowards. They hide behind complete or at least partial anonymity online or in private one-on-one complaining, but they are not willing to put their good names in the newspaper or in any sort of public forum such as on a candidate ballot. They trash this wonderful city privately, but dare not put their critiques aside their name, in a news story of the local newspaper.
We all know that words have power. Words do not simply echo endlessly about without accomplishing something. What are those words accomplishing? Are they building up people or tearing down people? Is there any charity or virtue in those words? No!
There are far more winners and community leaders in Blytheville than I previously realized. If you are one of these winners, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You are making a difference, because you are keeping hope alive and you are holding back the cursed darkness that the crabby losers are trying to create in our town.
Another interesting thing to note is that the winners, the leaders, those that are bringing light into the darkness typically do not wish to be lavished with high praise. They simply see it as their duty to their hometown and fellow men and women. This is in contrast to the crabs who also seek to stay hidden, but only because they are cowards that are playing on people’s weariness or fears, to keep them held down.
Those that have followed my time with the CN know that I will call out wrongdoing in a heartbeat, but I also try to spotlight what is right. I am trying my best to not let my pen be merely an instrument of “slash and burn.”
I equally purpose in my heart not to let my tongue be either.
I was a crab for far too long. Life is much better now that I am bringing light. If you look for good, you can and will find it. But if you rejoice in darkness, then that is all you will find as well. When you do find darkness, don’t curse the darkness, bring light into that situation and darkness is destroyed. Light always prevails.