Last Sunday I spoke to a really good church out in Southlake, Texas--to be more exact, the church is located in Trophy Club, Texas.
My assignment meant that I had to drive out Highway 114 to Southlake and back to downtown Dallas--almost 70 miles round-trip.
On my way back into the city, I had a surreal moment on the freeway.
Work with me here to "get the picture," okay?
Garrison Kellior is bringing his "Prairie Home Companion" program (a re-run taped in June 2004) to a close by leading his New Hampshire audience in singing "America the Beautiful."
I am flying down the highway along with some really amazing automobiles--Porsche SUVs, Mercedes Benz, BMWs, Lexus of various sorts, the list of high-priced cars could go on and on. Cars occupy the space in my soul labeled "Vice," so, I notice cars believe me!
To the right and to left I pass retail shopping of every variety, laid out in malls, new urban strip centers and impressive free standing buildings.
Upscale housing for lease and for sale appears plentiful, with more being built everywhere out on what was once prairie and cotton farms.
Shining office buildings dot the drive and become more concentrated as I glide through Los Colinas. The national headquarters of several companies make their corporate homes along this concrete ribbon of industry and wealth.
Then, the skyline of Dallas emerges out of the haze.
Really an impressive silhouette against the horizon.
All the while, Garrison is signing his heart out with his audience.
The message comes to me so clearly.
In a city like this one, there is no reason for any child to grow up in poverty.
No student should drop out.
No family should have to endure sub-standard living conditions.
Everyone should find work that pays a fair and livable wage--every single laborer.
No man, woman or child should need to worry about health care or food or transportation.
Hopes should never be crushed in such a wealthy place.
This city and this nation are indeed beautiful.
As I drove along, lost in thoughts about my work and the people I know as a result, it occurred to me that I love this place. I really love it.
But we should be doing better, much better.
And, you know what? We can do better.
But, things must change.
What is needed is a coordination of resources, efforts, heart and opportunity.
Public sector and private sector must come together with a new will to bring equity and fairness to our city--to every corner of our city.
Until every resident of our city understands and believes that he or she matters and matters a great deal to the rest of us--because of the way our community operates and treats all residents--we will not see the improvements we need so badly.
It is not popular these days to say so, but the government must step in and take charge of some issues and relationships.
We will not get the job done unless things are coordinated for the greatest good of the most people.
And yes, sometimes such decisions will be made at the expense of the few who also are the very well off.
America is beautiful. However, the beauty and the opportunity must be shared much more widely.
My drive last Sunday brought this home to me.
It also screamed, loud and clear, that we have more than sufficient resources to do what needs to be done.
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Larry James' Urban Daily
A repository of ideas, resources, commentary and opinions concerning the issues facing low-income residents of the inner cities of the United States and how mainstream America largely forgets or, worse, ignores the day-to-day realities of urban life for the so-called "poor." Written and edited by the President & CEO of CitySquare. Please visit CitySquare.
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