Resolutions we can live with this year

(This editorial first appeared in The People-Sentinel Dec. 31, 2008)

It's a habit we all repeat every year at this time - New Year's resolutions.

For many of us, these are well-meaning but wishful thoughts of bettering ourselves: quit smoking; eat more salads and less fast food; drop a few pounds or exercise.

Most of these resolutions are forgotten by February unfortunately. (An interesting side note is the busiest time of the year for gym memberships and attendance is the beginning of a new year as people try to sweat their way to a better body or a cleaner conscience.)

Yet for a few - a firmly faithful and steel-willed few - they see their resolutions through.

If people as individuals can make resolutions, why can't organizations and governments?

Here's a few New Year's resolutions that Barnwell County should follow. Carrying these resolutions out will - in whole or in part - take all of us to achieve:

• We have seen or read about it enough that it has its own phrase: "random acts of violence and senseless brutality" - crime in general. We can't stop crime from happening if a person has a mind to do evil. However, we, as law-abiding folks, can do two things: One, be more vigilant toward ourselves, our property and our neighbors to make it harder for criminals to do their deeds or get away with them. This can mean making sure our houses and cars are locked and valuables aren't in plain view to tempt spur-of-the-moment "thieves of opportunity." This will help decrease the rise in property crimes that have been occurring in Barnwell County in 2008.
Two, we can help the county's image. We can cancel out the bad image that crime can stain a location with by performing what others have termed as "random acts of kindness and senseless caring." Hold the door open for the person behind you. Say "hi" to a stranger. Check on a senior citizen. Offer directions to a lost person. We already know Barnwell County is a good place to live - let's let others know that as well.

• More industries, hence jobs, in the area. The economic development people have been working hard on this one anyway, but we hope 2009 will see even more revelations and announcements on this front.

• A pooling of resources among the nonprofit service groups. Perhaps groups like Red Cross, United Way, church humanitarian groups should have a regional or countywide summit to see what unused or under-used resource one group has can be time-shared with another group and vice versa so the groups can mutually assist one one another. In this way, the individual groups may not pay for a resource that another group has in abundance.

• A reaffirmation among city and county councils to not let politics get in the way of helping the whole entity to which they have been elected to serve. In these challenging economic times, there will be obstacles enough to surmount. It will take all of us working toward the common goal of bettering the whole county that we don't need to add in additional hurdles of private agendas to overcome. As the old saying goes, "A rising tide raises all boats."

Hopefully these resolutions, unlike the individual ones, won't be broken as easily as the champagne bubbles the night they were made.