How many times have you or your neighbors had their home burglarized? Or car stolen? Are you required to walk past a group of “thugs” standing on your street selling drugs or had to call the police because of loud music coming from an automobile parked in front of your house?

And what about the times you have come out of your home to find beer and whiskey bottles on your front lawn? Let us not forget the individuals who wash their cars and block up the entire alley or the person who speeds down the street, showing total disregard for pedestrians. And, oh yes, the filthy underpass at Lake and Central?”or all of the shootings that took place last week.

Aren’t these all symptoms of a community on the decline? Could Austin do better, be better? Yes!

Willie, Austin’s philosopher auto mechanic, tells me that crime is down and things are in fact improving. But I say Austin residents need to take their heads out of the sand. Look around and see the erosion of the community’s quality of life and then ask the question, “Why?”

The answer is that Austin has weak politicians representing the community, ministers without moral backbones, and too many parents who have the values of an amoeba.

However, weak politicians are simply a manifestation of a cowardly constituency. In other words if Austin residents stood up, demanded more and held their elected officials’ feet to the fire, the community would be better off.

Of course a powerless constituency is a function of lacking the appropriate moral values. After all, everything is all “right” when you don’t know the difference between right and wrong. Unfortunately, in Austin many ministers are concerned about “my church” or “my new Cadillac” rather than teaching Judeo-Christian ethics and concepts related to uplifting the race?”ideas that could make a people strong and courageous.

Parents who let their children walk around in hooded sweaters and baggy pants down to their crouch because it is the “style” are clearly clueless with respect to the fundamental purpose of parenthood, which is to raise and protect the child. What community would allow their young to grow up uneducated and dressed like “thugs” because it is the “style?”

This lack of values and morality that permeates the African-American community breeds isolation and criminality. And any intelligent person knows that you cannot have a viable community if crime is allowed to run rampant. Every society since the beginning of time has self-destructed when the citizens buried their heads in the sand and allowed the “idiots” to take control.

Most African Americans grew up with the appropriate values and a strong sense of morality. The ancient African traditions of community and decency forever run through our veins. The Southern notions of God, family and concern for your brother and sister are still a part of our fabric.

Are Austin residents ready to turn their backs on “Sodom,” characterized by a culture of ignorance, “bling-bling,” violence and despair? Will the community reject politicians and ministers whose objective is to keep people “barefoot, ignorant and pregnant” as a way of keeping them under control?

Enlightened people complain and make suggestions to their local officials about ways to improve the situation. When was the last time you stepped up and had the courage to tell Congressman Davis that he actually needed to take a stand on what is happening in the Darfur region in the Sudan? Or suggest ways that Alderman Carothers could fight crime and make the police more accountable?

Or are you just another coward with his head in the sand waiting for his “behind” to be kicked?