There’s a lot of misinformation and conspiracy theories swirling around right now.

And they’re swirling around in Rome. I hear whispers from this person and I see social media posts from that person about what may or may not be happening soon.

Some people want you to panic and rush to the grocery store or the gas station.

It’s madness and those who proliferate lies and rumors on social media are doing more damage than anything else.

And I don’t have answers. I don’t have a quick fix. I don’t have all the information.

But here’s what I know. I know that political extremists on both sides are what’s tearing this country apart. But I also know that most folks around here are sensible and reasonable and care about their neighbors.

That’s what I’m counting on.

I don’t know about the power moves and the big decisions being made in Washington, D.C. That’s way over my head.

I only know what I see and experience every day in my little city of Rome. And that gives me hope. Because as long as I’ve lived here I know that Rome and Floyd County takes care of its own.

Sure there are a few crazy people around. Sure there are folks who are itching for a revolution or some sort of civil war. But I know that most of us — regardless of political affiliation or social status or religion or color — want the same things.

We want to be healthy and happy.

We want our kids to be safe.

We want to eat good food.

We want to be successful in business.

We want to not have to fold our own laundry.

We want to see our friends and family regularly.

We want to enjoy our weekends.

We want a Target in Rome.

We want to go to the mountains or to the beach.

We want short lines at Starbucks, the grocery store and Zaxby’s.

We want our neighbor’s dogs to stop barking so much.

We want our family members to not be crazy.

We want to lose weight while still eating all the Bojangles biscuits we want.

We want our Waffle House waitresses to call us “Hon.”

There are more things that unite us than divide us. There are more things we have in common than not. I know that’s probably cliché to say but I honestly believe there are more people in this community and this country who are sick of the bickering and fighting than who want it to continue.

There may be dark days ahead. Or everything could go smoothly from here on out. There could be more unrest or there could be peace. I don’t know. But let me tell you what I’d love to see. I’d love for OUR COMMUNITY to be a spark of unity amid whatever chaos may be happening elsewhere.

Remember that while big time politicians you support are lining their pockets somewhere far away, there are folks right here who are just like you and are experiencing the same struggles and triumphs you are. They are your neighbors, your coworkers, the people you see at the grocery store, the people next to you at restaurants, the folks behind you at church and the family on the bleachers at the Little League game. That’s who you should be cheering on and supporting.

That’s who you should elevate.

Support, defend and care about the people right here around you. That’s how our community stays strong and unified. Let others see that we can have different opinions and still be a community. I am proud of Rome and Floyd County, of our local government, our law enforcement, our businesses and our residents in general who actively work to care for the people around them.

Let’s show the country how it’s done. We may not be a big city but we can do big things.

It starts with two important things: don’t believe everything you see on social media and take care of each other.

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

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