This week, we have devoted our editorials to issues facing the city of Columbus as Tuesday’s municipal election approaches. We have discussed the challenges our city faces with crime, infrastructure and the city budget. Taken together, these editorials may paint a grim picture of our city. That’s often the case when serious challenges are confronted.
Today, we turn our attention to a more positive aspect of our city: Whatever challenges lie before us, our city has what it needs to address these problems. And while there may be many things that need to be corrected, we have many more things that make our city a great place to live and work.
The list of those positive qualities are long. They include a university whose identity is closely tied to the city, a strong and mutually beneficial relationship with Columbus Air Force Base, beautiful architecture that few Mississippi cities can match, a long and the natural beauty unique to a “river city,” a rich history, and a spirit of comradery that makes the city’s claim as “The Friendly City” far more than an empty marketing slogan. Our city is blessed with priceless assets that are the envy of others.
We have a thriving arts community, community organizations, charities and church groups who add to the culture and do much good work in our city. We have festivals and events that bring us together and plenty of places to eat and shop and be entertained.
But our greatest asset is the people of Columbus themselves. This city is made up of immensely compassionate, creative, diverse, hard-working people. And Columbus has always produced an outsized number of accomplished citizens.
Although there are some who, during this election season, have sought to divide us along the tired and destructive lines of race, the majority of our citizens reject those ideas and seek a common, brighter goal.
Although the results of Tuesday’s election may, as Lincoln long ago observed, strain passions, the “mystic chords of memory will yet swell the chorus of union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”
We are confident in this belief because we have seen the evidence of it, especially in times of crisis. When our community has been ravaged by natural disasters, we stand shoulder to shoulder.
Again and again, we have proven ourselves equal to challenge in times of crisis.
That is important to remember now as our city grapples with the serious challenges noted in our previous editorials.
Whatever the obstacles, the people of Columbus are more than capable of overcoming them.
The Dispatch Editorial Board is made up of publisher Peter Imes, columnist Slim Smith, managing editor Zack Plair and senior newsroom staff.