Let me just say this, the last two weeks have been mostly filled with bad things and news here in Anniston/Oxford. First off, we had that guy from Anniston who wrote that anti Veteran’s Day letter that went viral. I mean, why would that gentlemen disrespect all people who have served our country? Then, we had six Walter Wellborn Football players get into a fight. Playing the game was not enough, and punches were thrown. Then, we had the owner of Damn Yankees, David Mogil, get arrested again this time for animal cruelty. Seriously, the owner almost killed an innocent animal. Thankfully, the dog was found alive and will make a full recovery.
These three stories from this area, which happened in the last two weeks, and all went viral and national, is just an example of the negativity happening in Anniston/Oxford and Calhoun County. I have lived in the Anniston/Oxford metro area for over five years now. And I have seen more and more cases of people being negative, critical, or wanting to take advantage of others. From the several bus fights on the trolley system, drivers swerving towards me while walking on the side of the road, people calling the police on me for walking down the road, and even some people harassing me on social media like this person did, who lives in the same apartment complex I do. I believe this metro area has way more people who needs to get a life, than people who always helps others and have a happy life.
And this is what this Thanksgiving post will be all about. The reason why many people, I think it’s a 75/25 percent ratio, are negative, have no good outlook on life, and are angry, is because the Anniston/Oxford area has one of the worst economies in the United States. And it’s not me just saying this; I have made a presentation showcasing the studies from websites like Forbes, and ways to fix the problems. View the presentation below!
Many small businesses are struggling here and are closing down. On the Facebook group page that was boycotting Damn Yankees, several people said other restaurants are struggling to fill seats, even during the busy times. And here’s the reason, the economy sucks here. We have lost over 10,000 jobs over the past five years. The metro area has thousands of people, including me, who are unemployed. For the few businesses that have moved here, like Publix and Sam’s Club, thousands of people filled out applications, and many were disappointed that they were not hired.
And for the lucky ones who were hired, many are being paid minimum wage or just above that. This is a recipe for a well underperforming metro area. And this latest study from New Geography paints another bleak picture for Anniston/Oxford. It ranks all of the 380 metro areas in America in the terms of an educated population and the smartest people. According to the study, Anniston/Oxford is the third least smartest metro area in America. Hurray, we are the third most dumbest metro area in America! View the study by clicking here.
So, where I am going with all of this? I think the person who are often angry and negative, are drowning out the few in this metro area who actually wants to make this area a better place to live for everybody. For example, I have volunteered my time for several people and businesses, and while they actually pay others who did something similar to what I do, I just did things without pay. I have also watched other people I know get taken advantage of themselves in this metro area. And since no one will hire me in this metro area, the only ones who want my help will take me on without paying me anything. So, how can I survive without paying my bills?
And the criticism from other people not only takes place while I am on the job search or covering events. For example, when I put together and released my Nathan Young Video Resume. Several people from around the country shared and commented about the video. And many people have given me high praise. Like this person on Twitter.
But, it did not take long for someone here in Anniston / Oxford to send me a negative comment about this video. After that negative comment, I took the weekend off to think and reflect. And it got me thinking, this metro area has way too many people who wants to keep everything the way it is, without making the changes required to grow and make this metro area better.
Who cares about the small business owners struggling or closing down? Who cares about the ones who are unemployed in a city with no one hiring locals? Who cares about the ones who are homeless or starving? And who cares about the ones who are in pain, like having a part of the body hurt, or having some of their teeth hurt? Right now, my teeth hurt on and off because I have a cavity forming, too bad I can’t afford the $25, then the $200 necessary to fix the several cavities forming.
Since I am one of the most influential people on social media in East Alabama, and one of the most influential writers/bloggers in the Southeast, I often get the chance to talk to a lot of people. From the small business owners, bus drivers, librarians, neighbors, MENSA folks, other media officials, and other average people. The consensus is the same. The Anniston/Oxford metro area is in serious trouble, and turning this area into a biking eco-friendly mecca will not save it.
I think this Thanksgiving, and the Christmas season too, should really be spent by taking a good long look at the mirror inside your home. It’s you who is negative and angry. It’s you that re-elects the same people who want to keep this area the same. It’s you who does not put pressure on the leaders to end this good-ole boy system. And it’s you that does not take the time to research what is really going on, and put a stop to it. Some folks who run things in this area blows off those studies from websites like Forbes that ranks this metro area as one of the worst in America. Guess what, those websites are right!
It does not take a genius to figure out that there are multiple, I mean multiple buildings empty and for sale. It does not take a genius to figure out that people are struggling. And, it does not take a genius to figure out that people are moving out of this metro area by the thousands. Many people, including me, knows what is going on in this metro area, at least we talk about it on social media.
As for my situation, since I have been rejected from every potential employer in this metro area, I feel like the only option left will be to say adios to Anniston/Oxford. I am thankful my relatives have been paying my apartment rent. But, if I don’t make a move, my relatives will be also paying for my groceries as well. Since the Alabama Legislature thinks I am too lazy to work, and they want to re-introduce the work requirements to get food stamps. There are going to be a lot of people starving in Anniston/Oxford starting in 2015, things will just get worse here.
Easily 90-95% of the United States economy is doing better than what you see in Anniston/Oxford. I can’t continue to volunteer my time to promote this community, no one can do that. I believe if I was located in a different area, I would have probably been snatched up by now, and not be unemployed for 3 ½ years now. Several people I know have left the East Alabama region for places like Texas and Oklahoma in the past few months, and I will probably be not far behind. Someone I know has said I should stick around because people know me here. Well, the people that knows me can’t get me hired here. And you need an income to survive these days. I don’t think I will be getting on Social Security disability anytime soon as well.
I easily compare myself to the Jacksonville State University Gamecocks football team. Geek Alabama and the JSU football team have their fans. But, the status quo rules supreme in the Anniston/Oxford metro. The JSU football team has to deal with people and businesses, who care more about Alabama and Auburn rather that the Gamecocks. As for me, I have plenty of people and brands who follow me along, but I struggle with leaders in Anniston/Oxford taking me seriously. And why did ESPN pretty much ignore the JSU football team last weekend? As I would say it, welcome to my world! I have proven many people wrong; I hope the Gamecocks prove people wrong too.
The Anniston/Oxford metro needs something big and great to happen, and soon. Having the Jacksonville State football team winning the national championship would bring instant and great morale into this metro area. So, I will be rooting on the Gamecocks during the NCAA playoffs, you should too!