Citizens of Cairo and "Little Egypt",
Just got through reading the latest council meeting notes… and I would like to throw in my 2 cents
if I may…
First, and foremost, let me thank the Cairo Citizen for facilitating Freedom of Speech and Public Access
to Public Business. And oh, congratulations Jerry. Long time coming, huh?
Anyhow, as I have emphasized before… you have to have Total Disclosure and Accountability from your
Public Servants. Those Public Servants who do not support this notion should be highly suspect. Those who aggressively subvert
or hinder this Public Right and Responsibility… well, simply should not remain in public service in any capacity. Tell
‘em it comes along with "Raising the Hand and Swearing to Serve The People and The Constitution of The United States
of America". Hey, give em a copy of The Constitution if they didn’t take American Government 101…
Now, what is all this talk about further destroying Cairo History and its Landmarks? And you wanna do "What"
with The Customs House and City Park??? What is with some of you folks? OK… I agree that at this time Cairo may not
be able to maintain Riverlore Mansion… and perhaps should not have purchased it in the first place. But… It is
a Jewel… and should be preserved and remain a Historic Landmark… however that condition is accomplished. It wasn’t
necessarily a "mistake" to purchase it. In fact, it is only the lack of funds that necessitates moving it off the Cities List
of Economic Responsibilities. Those people who are responsible for purchasing it are no more to blame than all those people
who haven’t Creatively Managed City Government in a way that insured adequate Revenue to Run The City (and take care
of Riverlore). And by the way... speaking of finances... "Accountants" don’t make good managers of anything. Growing
a Town is not just a matter of cutting expenses... but more a matter of creative investing. We should be strong in both areas...
but if you shoot yourself in the foot... ya can’t dance very well... if you get my drift. Tourism is our Bread &
Butter. Continue to build on it... and it will eventually give us good Financial Returns... and Social Reward.
City Government 101: Create a Balanced Budget (something the Fed hasn’t figured out yet how to do)...
don’t spend more than you have... and Creatively Invest in what you do have. And never forget that Your People are Your
As far a "Cutting Salaries"… hey, I don’t know the Mayor’s Salary, but I do know that running
Cairo is a Full Time Job (obviously)… and should be paid accordingly. A "Part Time" Mayor will do a Part Time Job. Is
it any more a person’s fault to take advantage of this position/situation as it is a town that will allow it? One more
thing to "get right" folks.
But "Business as Usual" is not why I am mainly writing this "Letter to The Editor" piece. And while City
Government has at its main purpose The Protection and Welfare of its Residents… its Residents should understand clearly
that its Government and Public Officials simply "Can’t Do It All"… nor should they. And while there are many Citizens
and Public Officials who are "Doing More Than Their Part" in one or more capacities… it is something that The City as
a Whole has to Embrace… if we are going to be The Star that is necessary to turn this town around… get it’s
"Head On Straight"… and Be All That it can Be! We have to make things happen despite government. Jeez, how long is it
going to take Americans (and this town) to learn that lesson? And do we really need to be wasting the city counsel’s
time and energy on "U-Turns" in front of the Post Office? Maybe we need to discuss "Jay Walking" in the next meeting? Focus
People! There will be plenty of time to harass our citizens later...
Seriously, and sincerely, just as there are Jewels in this town… this Town is a Jewel in this Nation.
Ya just gotta Realize it and See it.
OK… look at it this way. New Orleans… this great city of Music & Merriment & History
& Life… has just experienced an incomprehensible tragedy and misfortune. But, you know what… they will rebuild…
and New Orleans will become another Great City (despite its notoriously corrupt city government). It will become another symbolic
Phoenix Rising from The Ashes. And if you think "The Blues" that helped gave it Birth and Spirit before was great… just
wait for the "Next Generation". You see, New Orleans is a City of Survivors. It took what it had "Then"… and it will
take what it has "Now" (which isn’t much in terms of Physical Wealth)… and it will become another Star of this
Nation. Why is Cairo so different? It isn’t… except maybe in our Attitude toward our Condition and Salvation.
I mean... Why aren’t We Proudly "Singing The Blues"... and Celebrating Our Social Survival and Common Humanity?
Anyway, as I told Councilperson Linda (while making a bank deposit)… What we need in this Town is ENTERTAINMENT.
We are a Positive and Fun Loving Town (at Heart)… and There is No Reason that We should not Celebrate & Express
Our Selves on an Ongoing Basis. We have a lot to be Proud of… and we should be The Envy of other Towns in this Region.
It’s all Attitude… and Attitude is what defines you… as a Person and as a Town. What we are trying to regain
is our Personal Respect… and be a Responsible Part of what we claim is The Growth of a Nation. We as a Town have Suffered…
and we have survived with Integrity and Compassion. And while we took our eye off of City Government for a while (something
you don’t do with Politicians or those in Power) and a few of ‘em have continued to abuse a long abused system…
we can get things straight with a little application of good old "common sense"… and initiative from The People. And
don’t forget that Total Disclosure and Accountability is a necessary ingredient to making that One Fine Cake! Until
we have that… the business of Government is just Wheels Spinning in The Sand. We need a Good Foundation to Build On.
So… moving on... I am asking The City Government and The Town… "Why don’t we have Music
and Merriment in this Town? Why do we not have Monthly Concerts from Town Members and Bands… along with outside Local
Groups". I am talking about "Amateurs" folks… townspeople with the potential to be more... and with something to say.
And to begin with… why doesn’t the Cairo Radio Station (WKRO) sponsor a weekly one or two hour "My CD Collection"
from various Kids and Adults around the area? Just an example suggestion! I mean, The Airways technically belong to the people.
Private ownership does not exclude Service Business from Public Responsibility. And while I am sure all of our media is already
doing a lot to help out Cairo… maybe part of our problem is that we just don’t see how we can do more… and
do it more affectively… and include everyone. There are a lot of people who have a lot to say (which most of us probably
don’t want to hear)… but if everyone does not have a Voice… then essentially… no one does. And that
Ain’t My America. And that ain’t My Cairo...
Here’s another suggestion: New Town Motto: "Escape to Cairo" (‘cause we have what money
and wealth and big business can’t buy). We got Soul… even if some of us can’t dance very well! J
What is happening around the Country… is that "We The People" are seeing a Nation Reclaim Itself…
Americans taking back their Country from Corporate America and those bent on destroying Our Constitution and Freedoms. Many
of us are still confused… but a Fox in The Hen House can only disguise itself for so long. And the Saving of America
starts at The Grassroots Level. Something we can be a part of. And folks… you don’t need a PhD to know the difference
between an Eagle and a Vulture (it’s how they walk the talk). So… Go ahead and Be a Star! Be The Difference You
Want to See in The World (Gandhi)… and know that You have more than The Capacity to Be That Difference! As a Town and
as Citizens… Know Your Assets… Trust in The Human Spirit… and Let People Sing and Dance and Celebrate. It’s
an Inalienable Right for God’s Sake!
The Bottom Line (Southern Illinoisers)... is The Little Egypt Area (and Concept) is a Marketers Dream. It
would literally take Billions to set up such a Great Opportunity... and here it is right under our nose... for free. We even
have an Interstate Highway at our doorstep! All we need is the Initiative and Vision to make it a Great Reality. There is
absolutely no reason Southern Illinois is not one of the biggest hubs of Social Activity and Commerce in the state. None at
all. And there is no reason for Cairo not to be the center of all that activity... The Heart of The Region. It really is not
that great of a challenge... with Courage and Vision. But then again, nothing can happen if you don’t believe in it...
and Yourself. It really is a matter of Faith and Perseverance... however you want to perceive it.
By the way... there is a Great CD about Cairo out by a man named Stace England. The Album is called "Greetings
from Cairo Illinois"... and the Music has gotten attention and praise worldwide. See, we are already World Famous! More Information
is available on The Internet.
Lonnie J. Burris
Citizen of Cairo
(literary license taken)