The twang of country music may or may not be your thang. My attraction to the Nashville Sound is threefold:
1. The catchy beat
2. Words you can hear and understand
3. Story-filled lyrics
When Randy Travis sings “Three Wooden Crosses”, you can visualize triumph emerging from tragedy, tied to that bloody Bible. How about Garth Brooks and “The River”? Can you feel those words flowing through your life, your soul?
As Wayne County goes into its second year of a David-vs.-Goliath battle to protect our health and environment, Aaron Tippins’ tune keeps playing—over and over—inside my head. We didn’t go looking for this toxic coal-ash fight. Republic Services, aka Goliath, brought it to our doorsteps.
If you’re not familiar with “You’ve Got to Stand for Something”, go to YouTube and listen. In the video, watch the smaller boy “stand for something,” using his toe to draw a line in the sand. See the bully back away. Here’s the opening of Aaron’s song:
“Now Daddy didn’t like trouble, but if it came along
Everyone that knew him knew which side he’d be on
He never was a hero, or this county’s shining light
But you could always find him standing up
For what he thought was right
He’d say you’ve got to stand for something or you’ll fall for anything …
“Now we might have been better off or owned a bigger house
If Daddy had done more givin’ in or a little more backing down
But we always had plenty just living his advice
Whatever you do today you’ll have to sleep with tonight
“He’d say you’ve got to stand for something or you’ll fall for anything
You’ve got to be your own man not a puppet on a string
Never compromise what’s right and uphold your family name
You’ve got to stand for something or you’ll fall for anything”
I believe landfill companies, such as Addington and Republic, knew exactly what they were doing when they lured rural communities, such as us, into agreements. Traditionally, we are cash-strapped—looking for ways to take the tax burden off our citizens. Likewise, our leaders are quick to fall for solutions, i.e., “easy” income to the county coffers. These behemoth waste managers know we are likely to get hooked on the new dollars, making it improbable for counties to break the addiction.
That’s exactly the dilemma facing Wayne County and its commissioners today. If Republic continues to muscle us into a corner, we have to decide: “Are we willing to live without a ‘bigger house’?” If we are, we will have to be “our own man not a puppet on a string.” To deny Republic’s greedy thrust into our environment and our future’s health, we’ll have to pay some more and spend some less.
If my daddy had been a country singer and not a country undertaker, one of his songs would have been: “Live below your means, and you’ll always have plenty.” Wayne County should adopt Big Dink’s and Aaron’s advice, and we’ll do just fine without Goliath’s habit-forming, landfill money.
So, if you can’t stand up for the people and the place you love, for what are you willing to take a stand?