Like many, I am thankful that we have elected many Republicans and Tea Party members to serve us for the next two years (Editor's Letter, November 25th issue). This will, without doubt, guarantee a landslide victory for Democrats and renewed hope for all of us in just two short years. Once these people start trying to implement some of the ideals they espouse, such as repealing the Civil Rights Act, criminalizing homosexuality, doing away with the Department of Education, and taxing the middle class to give huge tax breaks to all our poor, starving billionaires, people will quickly change their minds and sanity will return.
The Morning After
After reading John Branston's "The Morning After" regarding the consolidation of governments (November 4th issue), I found myself asking: What is Shelby County really afraid of? How can members of the Memphis community stand idly by and allow this division to continue? Are we not all a part of the same county? Are we not all paying into the same economy? And yet many Shelby Countians not only want to remain physically separate from Memphians, they vilify their neighbors in Memphis.
What is Shelby County afraid of? Consolidation would mean smaller government, and it offers an economic advantage for the entire county. Does the Shelby County community not desire Memphis to thrive as they have thrived? Does the Shelby County community not want to afford the opportunity for all children to have a quality education? I'm sure the answer is a resounding no.
What is Shelby County afraid of? Branston's article states, "No majority-white suburban county has ever consolidated with a majority black city." Surely this is not an issue of separate but equal, is it? Are we allowing color and/or the "haves" and "have nots" to divide our community? Apparently, we are. Just because the words are not being uttered, it does not mean the implication is not there. Shame on us all.
Move to the side! The Messiah is coming with $90 million to help the Memphis City Schools system. I'm talking about the article "The Hand of Gates" (November 18th issue). Yes, Bill Gates donated money to our school system. Yes, we needed it, but what about the teaching methods?
I agree with Gates' statement: "Years of experience, various degrees — it doesn't explain the differences [between teachers]." What's the point of having money at our disposal if the students don't understand what they're being taught? As a recent high school graduate, I understand the difference between regurgitating information and learning it. I hated algebra in high school, but now that I'm taking it in college with a better teacher, I can grasp the concepts. If we want to make a real change in the Memphis City Schools system, start with the teachers.
Regarding the story by Lindsay Jones in the November 11th issue, "Can Raleigh Spring Back?": One Raleigh resident was quoted as saying, "I could've moved, but the house that I have is sufficient for me and my husband. ... But when I see my surroundings go down and the value of my property, then I'm concerned."
As a 20-year Hickory Hill resident, I have the same concerns. I was part of the annexation by the city of Memphis. The homes and businesses east of Riverdale Road up to Hacks Cross Road have been absorbed into the Hickory Hill community. It was once considered Germantown-extended and unincorporated.
Hickory Hill, once a thriving area, is on a steady decline. The Winchester corridor was like the Austin Peay corridor — full of all types of thriving businesses. Hickory Hill is headed down the path of the Raleigh Springs area. The tornado that came through Hickory Hill was a way out for the businesses that were declining. After the tornado, it was up to the business owners to come back to the community. It should not be up to a community church to take over a mall to make sure the community continues to thrive.
New businesses are not utilizing the vacant buildings between Hickory Hill Road and Riverdale Road. Is it too late for Hickory Hill to "spring back"?
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Which leads me to put on my Dr. Phil face and say what has to be said: It's time for Memphis and Shelby County to start seeing other people. We've tried for years to patch things up, to come to some sort of mutual understanding, but we need to admit that we have irreconcilable differences. We don't even know each other any more ...