From the Archives

The Southern Democrat, September 8, 1955

13 ways to destroy your hometown

Don’t pay taxes. Let the other fellow pay his. Vote against taxes. Then fuss because the streets are not kept up.

Never attend any of the meetings called for the good of the town. If you do, don’t have anything to say. Wait until you get outside and then cuss those who made the suggestions. Find fault with everything that was done.

Get all the city will give you and don’t give anything in return. Write unsigned letters to the editor demanding more for your tax money.

Talk cooperation, but don’t do any work for your city unless you get paid for it. And by all means refuse to serve unless they make you chairman.

Never accept an office. It’s easier to criticize than to do things. Accuse anybody who serves in an elected office of being a publicity seeker (or a crook).

Don’t do any more than you have to. When others willingly and unselfishly give their time to make a town better, howl because that town is run by a clique.

Don’t back your fire department or your police department. If the firemen work to bring the insurance rates down, tell everybody that is what they are supposed to do. Don’t thank them or the policemen for endangering their lives that you might have a safer town in which to live. Demand special treatment; raise cain if anybody expects you to obey traffic and parking laws.

Look at every proposition in a selfish way. If you are not the one who gets the most good out of it, vote against it. Never consider what it will do for the town as a whole.

Don’t do anything for the youth of the town. Criticize them as potential delinquents. Keep your feet on them. Encourage them to move away when they grow up.

If you have good leaders, don’t follow them. Take a jealous attitude and talk down everything they do.

Don’t work on any committee. Tell them, “I’m too busy.”

Don’t say anything good about our town. Be the first to point out its shortcomings. Pretend that if trouble comes your way it will be residents of some other town who will visit you while you are ill; bring in their fire department if your home is burning; comfort you if you lose a dear one; stand behind you in disaster.

And don’t support your local retail stores and industries. Claim the prices and service in stores of other towns are better. Claim industry and its payroll hurts the town. But if you need a donation, ask your local stores and industries for it. Expect them to back you, but don’t back them.

If these 13 steps don’t ruin your town, it isn’t your fault. Read them carefully and think them over. They are believed to be habit forming… are you guilty?