“If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.”
-- Nelson Mandela
As we decide on our New Year’s resolutions on this final Sunday before entering 2014, let’s resolve, as a community, to help mend the area’s spirit and head down roads Nelson Mandela spoke about -- “Goodness and Forgiveness.”
We have spent so much time licking old wounds and holding grudges that we’ve missed out on opportunities that sat directly in front of us. To become a beloved community, we have to follow the words of Mandela. He would not have been blamed if, after serving 27 years in prison, he had resolved after his release to hold onto bitterness and anger. His country would have followed him into that pit. Instead, Mandela led his nation down Reconciliation Road. He was a leader who grasped the big picture of his country’s future.
There will never be another Mandela. However, each of us has a duty to seek reconciliation so we can start building trust. It won’t be easy; the demons of our past will be active, but, as Mandela showed the world, it can be done. There is much to forgive. In many respects, 2013 was a tough year. It started with the departure of Bibb County school Superintendent Romain Dallemand after two tumultuous years. The community was still riled about the shooting of Sammie Davis Jr. by a police officer in a supermarket’s parking lot in December 2012. Rallies for “Justice for Junebug” spilled over into 2013.
The 2013 General Assembly was the source of much consternation as Republicans changed the election date for the new consolidated government from fall to summer, leaving hard feelings in their wake. Their action contributed to the redistricting debacle that still leaves a seat to be decided Jan. 14. It will be up to the community to retain as much of the Christmas spirit as possible, no matter the outcome. We all have a part to play in moving our communities forward. There will be new leaders in Macon-Bibb, Warner Robins and Fort Valley who can help make it so. We have to support them and hold them accountable for carrying the entire community into a more prosperous 2014.