Tuesday, April 9, 2019

"Most people are good..." by Derek Mullikin

This week, please make Derek Mullikin welcome at the Window. This essay originated as a Facebook post. While I don't necessarily agree with everything he says here, I like and appreciate his passion. Thank you for being here, Derek! - Liz

Please take two minutes of your time to read this. I wish everyone had this opinion of our amazing city! On my way to work this morning I heard a song on the radio that I felt reverberated with our community.
‘’I believe most people are good

And most mamas oughta qualify for sainthood
I believe most Friday nights look better under neon or stadium lights
I believe you love who you love
Ain't nothing you should ever be ashamed of
I believe this world ain't half as bad as it looks
I believe most people are good’’ 
(Written by David Frasier, Ed Hill, and Josh Kear, recorded by Luke Bryan)

When I say it reverberated, I do not necessarily mean this is the consensus amongst our community, but I believe it should be. All of the negativity about Peru in the group, elsewhere on Facebook, and seemingly everywhere we turn is completely unjust. In my opinion, most people are good.

Peru, at the least the Peru I know and grew up in, hasn’t relied on “big business” and “things to do” like I have seen so many people criticize that we lack. Facebook has given negativity a voice, one that does much more destruction than anything else. Peru does not need Walmarts or Targets or extravagant restaurants and go-cart tracks. In fact, I believe these things would ruin the beauty of what small town Peru is.

I have lived in big cities. I worked in Indianapolis for three years, I lived in Chicago for three months, and in Lafayette for five years. If these were such great places, why would I come back to Peru to raise my children? Because Peru, with its imperfections, is a great town to raise a family in. I can go to Kroger and get groceries with my children and not worry about someone snatching them up. I can forget to lock my car door and not worry about things being stolen. I can walk down the alley, my wife can walk down the alley, and we don’t worry about the terrible things that could happen. People wave and say hi, whether they know you or they don’t. OUR people. Most people are good.

Peru is not some rundown town of people who have nowhere else to go. It is a community of people, most of whom are good people, who appreciate what Peru is. It is home. When I was a child, I didn’t need laser tag, sports teams, or restaurants to keep me happy. We went outside and played with our friends. Our parents did not worry if it was safe for us to be out, because Peru is a safe place. That has not changed.

Just because the news shows you murders and heinous stories every day that happen in Indianapolis or Chicago or even Kokomo, does not mean it happens in Peru. And if you disagree, and propose a laundry list of things you want reformed in our town, I ask you to do this one thing--look in the mirror, really look, and ask yourself two things: (1) What are the ramifications of changes like the ones you want to see? (2) Are you a shining example of what you seek from others? In most cases, I do not think either answer will satisfy you.

Shaming people for doing business out of town is bizarre to me. That is commerce. We, as a small town, DEPEND on outside business. For employment, for goods, and to supply the very businesses our town has. I encourage those who think Peru has nothing to offer to please leave. Peru is not here to be a sanctuary for you to never have to leave your front porch. Peru is a safe town, a true oasis in the world we now reside. We lack some conveniences of a big city, but we also lack, more importantly, the shortcomings of a big city. We are strong.

Peru has been put through the wringer, mostly by its own citizens. No matter what you say to whomever you are trying to convince, you will not tear this city down. For every one person exploding with pessimism and animosity, there are 10 more good people trying to make life meaningful for themselves and those around them. Most people are good.

I do not speak up on these things often, and sometimes I am drug into the same “Peru sucks” conversation that has been enduring for decades. But in my heart, my character, Peru is my home. It is where I live now, not because I have to, not because I work here (I don’t), and not because it has all the bright shiny lights. Peru is my home, because that’s exactly what Peru is. Nothing more, nothing less, and I am totally okay with that. I hope one day you all will be as well. If you aren’t, you have our blessing to take your life somewhere else. Rather than advocate change, can we embrace and improve what makes Peru, Peru? I hope so. And I believe most people are good.

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