The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

Letters to the Editor

October 14, 2011

The Next Seven Generations

Friday, October 14, 2011 — There seems to be very few good things coming out of China these days —arsenic in apple juice and leaded paint on children’s toys are but two examples. But thousands of years ago, China had some very clear thinkers. One ancient Chinese proverb says: “In our every decision, we must consider its impact on the next seven generations.”

The dictionary says that 30 years is generally considered to be one generation, so the proverb admonishes us to look ahead roughly 200 years when faced with important decisions — that is a long time!

These days it seems difficult to anticipate how our decisions will play out over the next few months, let alone many years.

Locally, we are faced with a decision which will have long-term ramifications for our entire region and state. The issue of who controls the waters of the Yadkin River for the next 50 years is for our generation to decide.

And what it boils down to is this: do we want to take the long term view, or the short term view? Our county desperately needs jobs/opportunities for our citizens, and the offers reportedly being discussed between ALCOA and the commissioners are very attractive at first glance —many in our county are willing to jump at these offers.

I do understand the almost desperate situation of our jobless. But unfortunately, this is the short-term view. If we consider the effects on the next seven generations, there is no doubt that the public benefits of controlling the Yadkin River are much greater.

I have no good answers to the short-term issue of folks needing jobs now; perhaps Mr. Obama can help us — but as far as the next seven generations, I am convinced that “We the People” will be better off by recapture of the public waterway.

Bill Burnside


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