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Friday, February 24, 2012

None of Us Are As Smart As All of Us

Anyone who reads this blog may already understand what I about to say, but it must be written so that some permanent confirmation exists.

A movement dedicated to rehabilitating
the personal experience of human beings
 must place all common work and achievement 
above politics and above individual desires.

Failure to do so allows selfish interests to flourish by using the good cause as a mouthpiece for personal gain. The probability that the movement will become a shifting sea of "I's" instead of a united surge of "we" becomes great as people concern themselves only about a segment of the cause. This preference encourages prejudice, creates division, and feeds individual egos. Instead, full and consolidated commitment to the good of society produces advancement toward crucial reclamation.

As the movement to stop drug abuse in Scioto County gained momentum, we naturally celebrated and treasured each step of progress. After the pill mills shut down and the drug-related statistics improved, it was satisfying to say, "Congratulations, team. Work well done." Yet, in truth, we have just begun our sworn commitment to "work." No one person has accomplished anything, but the team has made substantial progress. Without the full roster of players, we could not have made these initial strides. And, in order to continue the work, the group must resist the pressures that can potentially sidetrack individuals and draw them away from common goals.

Mahatma Gandhi said, "Every good movement passes through five stages, indifference, ridicule, abuse, repression, and respect." I truly believe we are beginning to achieve respect. But, as we do, we must understand that any measure of esteem the local public grants the group is much more important than media coverage or political comment. Needed change is slowly progressing but lasting change occurs when all people, themselves, see that the transition will make their individual lives more fulfilling than the lives they live now.

I know that "we all must work together" sounds like pre-game speech mumbo jumbo. As cliche and trite the simple bidding sounds, it is true. Division has pervaded our county over decades for reasons largely unsubstantiated -- rumors spread like wildfire in an environment where distrust and rivalries superceded the desire to achieve the common good. Factions bent on personal agendas doomed efforts to make the citizens a cohesive, formidable unit. However, when the human resources here became united, new alliances began to work wonders. I believe, we are just beginning to "taste" the rewards of such unions.

Let me stress, the cooperation and newfound dedication could collapse without sufficient growth and continued achievement. Nothing brings people together like a disaster. In the case of Scioto County, the initial response to the drug abuse epidemic has been phenomenal; however, some tend to see the beginning of progress as an acceptable destination for improvement instead of a temporary pause on the track to permanent and complete change. Defeating drug abuse is going to be a "long haul" that requires substantial energy and smooth interaction to insure continued motion. We have merely started a movement that must be continued into future generations.

I hope that many, many more people decide to rethink dependency and addiction. If skeptics allow themselves to view the problems with a different perception, I am certain they will join the efforts to reduce the present unacceptable state of drug abuse in Scioto County. The fact that abuse affects so many other vital concerns in the area makes it such an excellent place to begin thorough community improvement. With swelling ranks of active supporters so much can be accomplished.

"Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision.
The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives.
It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results."
- Andrew Carnegie

This is a vital lesson we must teach our children: "Common people, especially in mass, can attain uncommon results." They probably do not believe this in the light of their media-skewed perspective in the 21st century. Yet, ask any of the members of the Scioto Drug Action Team about the veracity of this statement. I believe, to the person, they will shake their head "yes" and profess that enough tiny flames coordinated tightly together can ignite a hell of a fire -- even if the "tall timber" seems impenetrable to the heated change.

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