Specht: Uniting as a city

Specht

And if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand. – Mark 3:24-25

“Did you know there are two Mindens?” When this question was posed to me recently, I had to acknowledge it as truth. As someone who was born and reared here, I have seen the division in our community too many times.

Before anyone jumps to the issue of race, that is not the only thing that divides Minden.
Progress versus status quo. Long term benefit versus Short term inconvenience. Self-sustainment versus an attitude of entitlement. The list goes on and on.

Many good people refuse to get involved in the betterment of our community. Why? Because it’s more important to some who gets the credit than the satisfaction of making a difference.

For others, it is about can’t control. If they control it, they don’t want to be a part of it. This issue isn’t limited to individuals, but extends to some of our organizations.

What good have these attitudes done for Minden? None.

From 1995-2015, Minden’s population has plummeted from 13,590 to 12,690 (Census est.). No one wants to live, work and play in a community that is divided. Meanwhile, our neighboring parish to the West is enjoying rapid growth and a bustling economy.

As someone who has spent the last 17 years observing this growth, I can personally attest to one overshadowing reason for Bossier’s success — cooperation.

Whether it is the City Council, Police Jury, School Board or any of the many community institutions, Bossier consistently works to together for the betterment of all. Does it always run smoothly? Of course not. Politics still plays a role, but it isn’t the driving force behind every decision.

One only needs to look at the response to the 2015 and 2016 floods in Bossier Parish to see this type of cooperation in action — in the most stressful of circumstances. These entities didn’t have to “come together” to respond to the crisis. They already had great relationships. We could learn quite a bit from their example.

Minden isn’t always divided. Each year, Minden gives more money per capita to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital than any other city in the nation. And, each year we give more than the previous — regardless of the economy.

People from all walks of life, areas of the community and ethnic backgrounds work together for the kids of St. Jude — many of which call Minden, “home.”

Our neighbors, and many around the world, take notice of Minden’s unity and the results. They often wonder how a town so “small” can do so much each and every year.

I wonder what can happen if we took a “St. Jude attitude” with more things in our community? What could we accomplish if we seized opportunities with a cooperative mindset, instead of a “What’s in it for me right now” one?

Changing our attitude is not for the faint of heart. Some of this division has been engrained in our culture for generations. But it can be done, if we are willing to commit to the cause.

If we are not willing to change then the declining population numbers will continue to give way to a declining economy. The ripple effect of this will be devastating over time. The futures of our children and grandchildren are worth the fight. Let’s give them a better Minden than we have now.

“It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” – Harry S. Truman

David Specht is president of Specht Newspapers Inc. He may be reached via email at david@snimedia.com.

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