Choosing Sides

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Written by Jeanie Barnett for the Summer 2010 edition of Neighborhood Connections.  Used by permission.

Who did you vote for?  What local newspaper do you read?  What does your tee shirt say?  What are you for?  Who are you against?  What is your agenda?  Whose side are you on?

Louisiana in general and Central in particular are filled with avid sports fans.  Don’t you know someone whose wardrobe consists of nothing but purple and gold clothing and accessories?  Have you ever been in the bleachers at a BREC park during a cut-throat tee ball game?  Don’t you know someone who has actually scheduled a wedding or funeral service around an LSU game?

Spectator and participatory sports can be great fun and wholesome entertainment.  What’s more American Pie than “rootin’ for the home team?”

Establishing the foundation for a new city is not a game, however, no matter how much people love to pick sides and compete.  This is not a sporting event; this is real life.  Facts can be manipulated to create a deception and people can be manipulated to score a point.

When information is brought to you, first ask yourself, “What is the source?”  Then ask yourself, “Is this fact or is it opinion?”  One often masquerades as the other.  If the information doesn’t ring true with you, check it out.  Go to the source and get the facts.  So many people are embarrassed to find out they have passed along untruths and partial truths simply because they didn’t verify the information.  And finally, ask yourself, “Does someone stand to gain by misleading me?”

Of course there are folks who are completely self serving, looking after their own interests.  And to be sure there are folks who just love a good fight.  The fact is that the vast majority of Central citizens are good people who truly want what is best for the whole community to maintain our quality of life and grow in directions that are truly positive and beneficial.  That includes people who espouse both “sides” and neither side.  We are all on the side of Central and our combined well being and the best interests of our children and their future.

No matter your age or political party affiliation, whether you are a new resident or have lived in Central all of your life, regardless of religious beliefs or the color of your collar, whether your toilet paper rolls under or over, you probably truly want Central to be the best city possible, today and into the future.

This is not a contest; it’s a joint effort.  Refuse to fight and we all win.