In this age of rampant hostility and constant bickering on social media, we need to remember the things that unite us.

Every single day people argue and fight on social media. We fight about everything. We’re offended by everything. We’re divided on every issue.

I can’t fix that. I can’t MAKE people understand one another. I can’t be there to explain to every single person that what they just read isn’t supposed to be taken seriously. I can’t be there to make sure everyone understands the other person.

All I can do is try to shine a light in the right direction. I can offer up a few universal truths that we can ALL agree on. Whatever your race, religion, social class, gender, political affiliation: I believe that these are things that all of us can come together on. These are the things that’ll put us all on the same page for at least a while.

These are Rome/Floyd County truths ... as I see them:

1. In heavy traffic, ain’t NOBODY supposed to be turning left onto Broad Street from Second Avenue. If it’s a high-traffic time of day, you just crossed the Second Avenue Bridge, and you need to get on Broad Street, please for the love of God either turn on Tribune Street before Broad or go down one more street and turn onto East First Street THEN make your way to Broad. Inconsiderate people will sit at that dang light trying to turn left and hold up dozens and dozens of cars for several cycles of the light. Have some consideration.

2. That big yellow flower on Broad Street looks like it needs to be in a McDonald’s play area. I’m sure there is a wonderful idea behind the sculpture and that it represents something good. And I fully support public art. But I think we can all agree that the look of the piece just doesn’t fit historic Broad Street. Chuck-E-Cheese? Yes. Between-The-Rivers? No.

3. Christa Jackson should be the principal of Saint Mary’s School (if she wants the job). Anyone who knows the school, knows that Christa Jackson IS St. Mary’s. She is that institution’s biggest proponent and most visible personality. She’s the head of admissions and development and does a great job in that capacity. But I believe they’re getting a new principal and while I’m sure that person is very qualified for the position, a large number of people in this community would agree that Christa is the best representative they could have. She loves the kids, she loves the families and she loves that school. She represents SMS so well. Their slogan should be “St. Mary’s School — We got Christa Jackson.” I guarantee you admission numbers would skyrocket. My unborn children are already pre-enrolled at St. Mary’s with the condition that Christa is there when they’re ready to start.

4. Clocktower Hill is the steepest hill in the state of Georgia. I don’t know that for a fact, but if we can all agree on that, I’d appreciate it. I don’t even like driving up that thing, let alone walking or running. It’s a killer. But it’s OUR killer.

5. Rome and Floyd County have too many stray and homeless animals. As a community we need to do a better job of controlling the populations. Spay or neuter your pets. Stop breeding your animals if you’re not a responsible breeder. If you’re looking for a new pet for your family, PLEASE consider adopting from the local shelter or an area shelter. At least visit those places to see if there might be one that’s right for you.

6. Shane’s Rib Shack has the best baked potato in town. I know this may not SEEM like a universal Rome truth to many readers but I had to throw it in there. When you consider the size of the Shack Potato, as it’s called, the tastiness, the amount of meat (chicken or pork) they put on top and the price, I believe you’ll agree with me that it’s amazing. Please try it the next time you’re there. Tell them Severo sent you. It won’t make difference, they’ll just know that I really like it.

7. We MUST support our local arts organizations such as the Rome Symphony, The Rome Little Theatre, The Three Rivers Singers, Rome Area Council for the Arts and other organizations that provide wonderful art events and programming in our community. In many other places the arts are being lost. And it’s a shame. We can’t take these groups for granted. They are comprised of talented, hard-working people who need our help. Attend their events, donate to their fundraisers, donate money to their programs. Keep them alive.

8. Rome needs to trade out one of its Walmarts for a Target. And I think we all know which Walmart needs to be traded. We also need a Cracker Barrel.

9. We need to establish where, in fact, that wolf statue on Broad Street came from. I’ve heard three different accounts. And people say they learned it in school one way but others say they were told another version. Let’s come together as a family and teach our kids where the dang wolf came from. Once and for all.

10. The area around those hotels on Martha Berry Boulevard is Rome’s equivalent of the Bermuda Triangle. People go in and some don’t come out. Strange things happen there that people can’t always explain. It’s a mysterious place that fascinates and scares people at the same time.

Severo Avila is Features Editor for the Rome News-Tribune.

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