AUGUST 3, 2014- I had planned on an Editorial this week on a totally
different subject, but after many events which have occurred, I decided to
focus on this, The “Outsiders Syndrome” which rampantly exists here, in my
personal and professional experiences, in Shelbyville.
After six plus years of calling Shelbyville home, I still see, and hear from others, every single day examples of this syndrome, which in simple terms is “If you are not from here, we don’t want you!”. Now, please bear in mind that I have had numerous encounters with individuals and local businesses who have not acted in this manner, but those have been in much less frequency than the others.
I read and seen numerous online articles, from both the Shelbyville Area and nationwide that are always about “Shop Local”, or “Buy Local”, or “Support Small Business”, and have, helped a few local businesses get into these campaigns. But as a resident and a businessman, it seems odd, that the same individuals who are on their “soap-boxes”, especially during election season, screaming for support and change, will in the same breath treat others who may not be from Shelbyville, but call it home, with malice, spite, in and some instances threats.
Why is it, that in the 21st Century, it seems, that a great number of people in this area, are so unresponsive to change, or growth, yet they stand on that same “soap-box” and cry that Bedford County and Shelbyville needs to grow. We need “Industrial” growth to create more jobs for the residents of the community, yet when individuals or businesses do move to the area and create jobs and try to bring increased revenues to the entire area, they are treated as “outsiders”? How can our community, both city and county, grow, when the same, tired demands are sought over and over again? How can our community grow or thrive, when the things that everyone wants, more jobs, more revenue, more tax revenue, and so on, are brought in by the “Outsiders” who are shunned once they arrive.
I have been in one aspect of business or another for the majority of my life and have served on numerous committees, commissions, Industry boards, and the like in cities all over the country, yet here, where a business that I run professionally, and of which generates both jobs, and tens of thousands of dollars for both the city and county economies, I get no respect or in some instances, even courtesy from those who believe and support this “Outsider Syndrome”.
And while I am on the subject of Jobs and bringing in “Industry” to create those jobs, let me say a word on “Industry”. According to a national study, as well as a State of Tennessee Study published some time last year, the top industries in the State of Tennessee are Tourism, Healthcare, & Publishing. The first one alone generates billions in State, County, and Local revenues alone, as do the other two. The days of relying on manufacturing jobs of years past, with the exception of the Tennessee automotive industry, are gone. If Bedford County and Shelbyville want to grow and create more jobs, and in return more money, then the Government Officials, and the residents of both need to lighten up and show more of the true meaning of Hospitality and openness to change than they have in the past. The “Outsider” mentality that has been exhibited in this area has to stop, or we cannot grow as a county, nor can we survive on the path that is currently been followed.
I created this news outlet as a means of everyone to have a voice, I created this news outlet as a means of those “Outsiders” to have a source of news that they may or may not agree with. We, the “Outsiders” have been told, either by word or action that “You are not from here, so we will not support you” and that in itself will lead to the downfall of this area, as well as its economy. We have to broaden our minds and open the doors for others who may not be from here to have an opinion and to respect that opinion, and listen to their ideas, because you never know, their ideas might just work.
All I ask in closing is that you open your minds and your hearts to the needs of others, the ideas of others, and the opinions of others, because with this, we, as a community cannot grow and will last.
-Rodney Thompson, Editor, Shelbyville Free Press
Rodney Thompson is the founder, Publisher, and Editor of the Shelbyville Free Press.
A Native of Northern Alabama, he and his partner have called Shelbyville home for 6 years.
Mr. Thompson is a member of the following Groups, Societies, & Organizations: