I stumbled upon a new phrase this weekend, which really caused me to think hard about Roanoke.
Now there are varying ideas as to what that exactly means, but at it's essence - it's a societal process - as sclerosis is "a hardening of tissue", the culture itself has solidified.
Now let's think about a different, yet related, concept.
How can we expect to attract the best and the brightest when we are constantly bombarded (at home and at work) with tales of young girls whose make it a point to get pregnant before graduation, young men who find it amusing and acceptable to sleep on the median of Crystal Spring Ave. because they spent all their "ride money" on beer, and are too drunk to get anywhere.
And this particular young lad lives in South Roanoke, up towards Boxley Hills.
Or how about the tale of a young girl, 17 - who engaged in adult activities with her mother's boyfriend. In public. And is proud of it.
We hear questions on why our schools have such a high drop out rate, and other asides.
Simple. Education is not valued. Cultural Sclerosis says these things are acceptable.
For the past x-amount of years, the city (and county, which has the same problems - just more spread out) - the losers have won. What good is hard work and an education, when you see so many people living life as they want, "making do with what they have."
Obsolete is accountability, replaced instead by acceptance.
"Well, thats just the way we do things."
"That's just the way he is."
Are standards that low?
Or let us not forget the old hymn: "This is the South."
Well I say hogwash.. balderdash and hogwash.
Accountability is not something that can be introduced like a virus, but it can be grown like a crop. And it is up to the community to show that there is a value to education, but not tolerating ignorance - and not giving it jobs, not allowing it to propagate in the workplace and holding employees to a higher standard.
Yes.. I said it - Standards.
If we, as a city, begin to work on the issue of raising standards for ALL people, not through legislation but through daily interaction, then perhaps.. just maybe - all the efforts at attracting and retaining will pay off. Until then, Roanoke is bereft with a low-powered work force.
Not to say there are not some smart folks and such around - but when visitors come from out of town - they see the mountains, the star, downtown and shuttle them out quickly before they have to stand in line at the bank while the teller reveals all the details about her hysterectomy to a poor businessman who just wants to deposit his check.
But I guess the crutch rears it's ugly head again, but that's a post for another day.
The real theme of this post -the message for a New Roanoke... stop accepting, and start raising.
"We've raised our standards, now up yours."