In our lives, foundations come first
By Stephan Drew, Staff Writer
As we go through life, we learn that everyone we meet has different experiences. Each person has their own ideas, dreams, expectations and priorities. As Americans, that is our right. What is most important to me may not be significant to you at all. We may have completely different preferences but, I believe we all share some of the same primary necessities. We all require a safe home, healthy food to eat, clean water to drink, clothing, etc., in order to achieve at least a basic level of comfort. However, I believe a safe home would be the most important of these. You must provide for yourself (and, hopefully, your family) some kind of space, a dwelling or cornerstone that grants you the security and stability upon which to build the rest of your life. If your home is not safe, your family will be afraid, your future will be endangered, and your life probably won’t be very peaceful. Much like the situation in our country now. Over the past few decades, we seem to have shifted our priorities from “substance” to “show.” It seems we concentrate more on how pleasant or exciting something looks rather than how structurally sound it may be. We have a much larger assortment of entertainment venues in America than any other country in the world. If you have a hobby, pastime, sports interest or artistic bent of any sort, there is a place to indulge that passion here in the United States. Our own state of South Carolina has zoos, museums, theatres, concert halls, civic centers, art galleries, battlegrounds, parks, hiking trails, stables, racetracks and a multitude of athletic complexes, no matter what your particular sport is. All of that is extremely impressive. I stand in awe of the hardworking men and women who made it happen. For generations, they and others have kept it going, expanded our cultural experiences and fulfilled countless dreams for so many in our state and around the country. But, while I’m astounded at their drive and accomplishments, I’m also a bit apprehensive when I think of the condition of the roads on which I travel to and from these venues. I love nothing more than hearing a beautiful piece of music played by a live orchestra. But, if it means I’ll have to spend a few hundred dollars on a front-end alignment (plus the price of the entertainment), I think I’ll pass, order it on pay-per-view, enjoy it at home and save some money in the bargain. But it’s not just S.C. roads. Our infrastructure is crumbling all over the country. Interstate highways, bridges, airports, rail lines, waterways, irrigation and drainage systems are in need of urgent repair. Many government departments monitor these things and, since money is always in short supply (for whatever reason), it is often impossible to do what is needed when it is necessary. But, these things should still be our chief responsibility, just like your home. If the basic structure of your life (your home and property) is not sound and secure, nothing you build upon it ever will be. If my home was unsound – due to poor construction, termites, fire hazard, faulty soil, or for whatever reason – the stabilization of it would be my chief priority. Providing that cornerstone would help to ensure the safety of my family and our future. Neglecting it would almost promise destruction for myself and those I love. Maybe this is a good time to get our priorities straight. Don’t get me wrong, I love entertainment as much as anyone else. But, if my house is crumbling, on fire or sinking into the ground, my son’s ball game and my daughter’s ballet lesson would not be my first priorities. It’s all about “substance” and “show.” The foundation and the exterior. The “substance” must be stable and secure for the “show” to be meaningful. Perhaps we might want to concentrate a little more on our foundations for a while. If we don’t, nothing we build upon it will ever be safe.