Elissa Yount: Optimism


There has been a lot in the news recently about optimism.

It seems that research shows that people who believe in a better outcome heal faster and live longer and better than those who are pessimistic. The same goes for pain. If you believe the pain killer works, then even if you are given a placebo, the pain diminishes just as if you had been given a drug.

Maybe a little optimism is in order for our community to have better outcomes. There are plenty of opportunities opening up, and with a belief that the pain will improve, maybe it will.

If the Maria Parham Medical Center changes ownership, then that could provide wonderful opportunities for new treatments and better resources in the community. It would be grand if a pediatric ENT could be available. Another need would be a drug and alcohol treatment center. Maybe the hospital could even build an assisted living facility that would provide lifetime care for the elderly, or maybe they could begin a program like the Duke University Medical Center operates for exercise and fitness. New resources could add to the good programs the hospital already runs, and they could become even more user friendly.

The change in leadership at the H. Leslie Perry Memorial Library provides another opportunity for optimism. The Library Board may be shown how Sunday hours of operation will fit into the budget. Outreach programs that were promised with the new building could become a reality. The movies on the lawn could happen! The answers to questions about library funds going to the Embassy Project, ownership of the library building, the non-profit status of the library, and upkeep of the parking lot for Variety Wholesalers may be revealed.

The Vance County Board of Education and local citizens have a wonderful opportunity for improving education with the anticipated change in the top positions. We can get new leadership that refuses excuses like “You just can’t teach these kids.” We can get new leadership that demands high standards for all students and especially “at-risk” students. New leadership can show you how to do it the right way, and will use money and resources appropriately and with accountability. There can be a new day in education and a brighter future for us all.

We can even benefit from the budget crisis. Duplicated services, and there are plenty of them, can be eliminated. If you count up how much money is spent on all kinds of youth services and how many different programs are sucking up this money with no real results, you can see the opportunity for improvement. Putting the resources in one strong arm and demanding accountability will show far better results and will give us a better return on our money. Too many cooks spoil the soup, and this soup needs far fewer cooks and just one chef.

Delaying the city elections might even prove to be good. More educated, productive, and concerned citizens may become aware of the election cycle and decide to run for office. Districts may become more racially balanced, and those strange few that live in one district and vote at a polling place for another district could be relocated. This may stir interest as to how the Vance County Board of Elections hires its chair, and interest may arise to change the very weird and bizarre way our school board is elected. Who knows? There may well be one-man-one-vote at the end of this process, and state redistricting may keep Vance County in one district.

The list could go on and on. Let’s be optimistic that the Boys and Girls Club will have a bright future at the Clark Street location and that that historic neighborhood surrounding it will benefit also. Let’s be optimistic that we will not resent having to clean up our watersheds, and that we will work to make water quality better for now and the future. Let’s be optimistic that Sheriff Peter White and Pastor Frank Sossamon will take the high road and work together to fight crime in our community.

If the research is correct, and optimism does bring about more positive results, then we have a lot to be optimistic about. If this was a winter of discontent, let’s look forward to a spring of renewal and promise.