For Those Who Stay
Sometimes the wisest thing you can do is leave.
In the end sometimes you just have to look out for yourself.
In Flint that’s been an issue that’s plagued the city for decades now and it’s something I find it hard to argue with. But sadly, the landscape of America is starting to look a lot like Flint.
The jobs are all but non-existent and those that exist are given to friends, or family, or the jobs are outright eliminated. When the recession hit the corporations took it as a cue to cut their staffing with claims of poverty and those cuts have extended out to raises and benefits. Corporate poverty is a phantom epidemic where the workers are punished for the mismanagement of the business interest. The street philosophy of ‘I gotta get mine’ was born in the penthouse and finally hit the streets only to be re-invented once more on high so that ‘getting mine’ meant you were willing to wade through a virtual river of blood to make sure you got it.
The government is broken, almost beyond repair. Everyone is in someone’s pocket. Everyone owes just one favor which becomes three, which becomes six, which becomes strange servitude. The Left and Right waste their tenure arguing and whining and complaining and do the predominance of their work in front of the TV camera where they lie out of hand as if it’s the most natural thing they do. It feels anymore as if there is no way to fix a system that can only be run by the wealthy and even the eager do-gooder will eventually be bought off or pushed out.
The school system has been decimated, the entirety of it a scorched earth of politics where robber barons took the funding to push towards needless wars and pointless plans. We have bankrupted the cities and broken the school system and all of those children who were once trapped by district boundaries are freed to go wherever they want. Suddenly the suburban schools are becoming overcrowded and the problems that plagued the city schools are starting to break the backs of the suburban schools. We are blind to the obviousness that without the next generation, and the generations that follow there IS no city, no state, and no country. We forget that we have to invest all we can into them if they have any chance of succeeding. It’s bad enough that college is mandatory to get a job as we price it so that these kids will spend decades paying off their loans and live in an infinite debt that we cannot fathom how they’ll ever get free.
The smartest thing we can do is run.
When the systems break, when the hope runs dry you run.
But here’s the thing – where are you going to go?
Therein lies the rub.
With Flint it is almost assumed you’ll leave and the city doesn’t do much to encourage you to want to stay. There is so much city corruption, so much politicking, and the system is so overburdened and broken I cannot tell you how it can be fixed.
Where will you go?
There are always better places, better options, better ideas…but the troubles, the big troubles, are yours no matter what you do and the problems with the System are like weeds – they spread and they spread and they spread until they kill everything around them. The problem has become that so many people run instead of stand that the wrong people get elected and re-elected and the wrong people are making the decisions. Will staying fix things? Not on its own but when you stay you invest yourself in the area, the culture, and the people and that’s when you become willing to fight.
For those who stay you are the last line of defense, not of some grand notion of AMERICA or FLINT but the last line of defense for yourselves and your friends and family. It’s you that makes a town, a city, a state, a land what it is. You that feeds it and supports it. It is you that puts events together, and fundraisers, and awareness campaigns, and you that digs out your neighbors when the worst times hit. The System is broken, was born broken and we have spent hundreds of years fixing it but the truth, the truth of this land and every land is that it’s us, the people that make these vast areas of land a home.
Sometimes we need to run.
Run far, run fast, and find a new place to call home.
Sometimes we have no choice.
But a day comes when you have to stop and put down roots and make someplace home. There comes a time when you have no choice but to, well, stand and fight. And fighting can just mean giving a damn what happens in your kid’s school, in your neighborhood, and to the people around you. It can mean voting. It can mean doing things that help people forget the stress, or helping people dig out from under it. It means that you have stopped running and are willing to find ways to be a part of the world around you and to not keep looking for the escape hatch. Sometimes staying is simply caring for and inspiring those around you and showing them that that greed and jealousy and rage and hate in the world are just parts of a larger world and larger picture but are never the only thing there is.
Sometimes you need to stay.
And for you that stay don’t you ever forget that when you stay, when you stand you will find that there are a lot of people around you to catch you should you lose your footing and begin to fall. If you run, the only place to go is away.
Sometimes you need to stay.
And sometimes, staying can make all the difference in the world.