Sometimes I get tired of hearing the word “they.”
As in...
“When are they going to get something to replace Walmart?”
“I don’t know why they don’t fix up our town.”
“They want us to shop at home but they don’t give us any good shopping places.”
“I wish they would take care of that.”
I’m sure we are like many other communities, but we’ve definitely got far too much “they” and not near enough “we” around here.
It is part of a trend you also can see and hear nationwide as so many people seem to expect our government or others to take care of us rather than getting out there and taking care of ourselves.
And we want to blame everyone else for our own problems.
It’s time we quit wondering when they are going to do something to fix things and instead figure out how we can work together and how we can get it done.
We, as in you, me, our neighbors, our co-workers, our friends, the people we attend church with, our classmates, our clubs, our coffee groups, etc.
We, without regard to race, petty jealousies, self-serving agendas, worrying who benefits and who gets credit, and other excuses that often keep us from doing things.
We, as in all of us working together to get things done for our community instead of sitting back and griping about why they aren’t doing it.
Many of our complaints about what they are doing, or not doing, seem to be directed at our elected officials: city council members, county commissioners, school trustees, hospital board members, etc.
Yes, they have been elected to represent us in making various decisions and taking certain actions.
But they can’t do it all.  And when they or others try to do something, they often are met with hostile criticism rather than support.
We think they should do this or that, but they better not raise our taxes in the process.
Those elected officials might be able to help facilitate the opening of a new store or a new business here, but they can’t just automatically make it happen.
They ultimately can’t make the decisions that go into whether someone or some corporation opens or closes a business here.
We probably have more influence on such decisions than they.
Are we going to shop at the business?  Can we provide the employees they need?  Are we willing to stay home and shop at a local store that might not have as much variety as the big-city shopping center?
We largely determine whether a Walmart, a Taco Bell, or any of our own home-owned businesses can succeed in Lamesa.
We can sit back and blame others for not fixing everything that we don’t like about our community, or we can roll up our sleeves, pitch in, work together and get things done ourselves.
We can gripe about empty buildings and unsightly vacant lots, or we can volunteer to help make improvements ourselves or put our support behind others in their efforts to take care of those problems on our behalf.
It is time to quit blaming our problems on what they are doing, or not doing, and instead get out there and become part of the solution to those problems.
We won’t always see eye-to-eye and agree on everything, but we can work together toward the same goals.
We are all members of the same community, regardless of race or other differences.  We are family, friends and neighbors.  They are us, and we are them.
They are limited in what they can accomplish, but we can do amazing things when we get involved personally and when we all work together.

Russel Skiles is the publisher of the Lamesa Press-Reporter.