PUB PENWow! What a great weekend we had. Celebrating our country’s birthday always makes me recognize and appreciate  the great country we live in. Though I think we have a tendency to take our freedoms for granted, especially in times like these when we seem to be straining and stressing under the weight of our own governance. Well, I’m not really worried about it. Americans have always proven their resilience time and time again when it comes to defending our rights and the American way of life. I love Fayetteville. Life here is good. Could it be better? Absolutely. But, then again, we suffer from too much governance locally where old habits, unilateral motives and conflicting priorities hinder and stifle our progress and growth.

Recently, a former resident of Fayetteville returned for a visit after a 30-year absence. He was amazed and pleasantly surprised and even impressed with our city’s transformation - especially downtown. He hardly recognized it. Taking pride in his compliments and observations, I couldn’t refrain from making the comment, “Yeah, but we’re not where we should be or could be. If only we could get out of our own way.”

And, it’s true. Everyone I talk with loves Fayetteville/Cumberland County. The problem is, they love “their” community. A common theme runs through every conversation I have with Fayetteville and Cumberland County residents. That one single thing that everyone mentions and agrees with consistently is: we are a community that fails to communicate or cooperate with each other. It is amazing. Everyone agrees that we should communicate and cooperate, but, openly admits that we don’t. Go figure. This is sad and not necessarily the type of thinking that inspires, energizes and motivates a progressive community.

We seem to be in a perpetual circular firing squad. 

At least everyone recognizes the problem, and they say that’s 50 percent of the solution. I agree, we have made great progress over the past three decades. However, we still have plenty of work to do - and with several awesome opportunities on the horizon, let’s all hope that our collective community communication improves. After all, we could talk ourselves into a future baseball stadium, a performing arts center and a North Carolina Civil War Education Center. It could happen! What do you say? Can we talk about it?

Thank you for reading the Up & Coming Weekly.

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