I’m so glad to get off work! I zoom past several people trying to get to my destination, anywhere far from work! As I slow down coming to a red light, I look at the Nashville streets. I didn’t notice anything strange at first but then it started to dawn on me: being a resident of Nashville all my life, things are starting to look a little different. I keep driving down the street and there saw a man begging for change, behind him was a big beautiful building that had just been resurrected. Further down the street was another man begging with a woman saying they needed food to feed their family but again beside them was a new pop-up boutique. I come to the round-about where I see several men and women just standing around waiting to go nowhere in rugged torn clothing, haven’t shaved or bathed in what looks like years. The rescue mission was behind them but if you took just ten steps forward several multi-million dollar buildings shined in the distance. I started to see the trend; new places are popping up everywhere on our city streets but so many people are still in need of basic necessities. And I’m wondering, why? What has become of our beloved city, Nashville? Why are we not taking care of the people who first called this place home? And why are we so quick to pacify those who no nothing about the love, southern colloquialism, hospitality, and upbringing that has made Nashville what it is today, supposedly the “It City”.
I remember Nashville when there was literally nothing here. You had lots of green space, trees and fresh air. You could walk almost anywhere, and there was little to no traffic. You knew who your neighbors were and their families even if they were miles away. We were a city, a community to be reckoned with. Hospitality was our middle name. Although I’m not that old to remember dune buggies I am old enough to remember the good old times where we could share items if we needed them from our neighbor, black or white, wealthy or not. Everyone felt the love in this city and I believe that’s why so many people have come to it.
But as they say, when you have a good thing and so many people want it, the value of that thing goes down. Where is the southern hospitality? Now a days in Nashville you cannot even say hello without someone scowling at you like you’ve just vomited. And that is not the Nashville way. Its people coming in from all walks of life and developers are building places that WE Nashvillians cannot afford.
Speaking of, Nashvillians always helped each other out. Now it’s every man for himself; kicking the poor man out to make room for the rich and healthy. We are not only losing our culture we are losing our people. The elderly that has called this place home for many years are force out of their homes, sold to the highest bidder, and made to live as the Outcasts of Poker Flats. And no one is batting an eye, or at least the guts to stand up and say enough! We are building more and more, and gaining more and more residence. Growth is good, and to gain even better, but at what expense? At the expense of our native people losing their houses that they have been in for years. To find themselves on the outskirts of Nashville with many not having transportation to get back and forth through town? For more people to end up in affordable housing because they cannot keep up with the property taxes that keep rising like the summer sun? At the expense of losing our youth programs and community centers because private facilities are buying public land and treating it as a country club for the haves and not the have not’s. At the expense of more vagrancy?
From what I see it is a tale of two cities. The one that we knew and loved and the one that is being created, that’s not for us. Nashville can be great for all walks of life, if we make it that way. Unfortunately, people only see one thing, GREEN, and if you have it, you can survive, if you don’t, don’t even bother trying to step your feet onto this rich soil that is making the powers that be, profitable. Sorry to say but is Nashville really the IT city? What is IT that Nashville is really doing? And who is it doing IT for. When I no longer have to see more panhandlers than I do charities, then we have become an IT CITY. When the new pop up boutiques give the donations to the missions then we can become an IT City. When these luxury buildings can help with affordable housing then we have become an IT CITY. The only way that Nashville can really and truly became an It city is if all its residence can benefit and be a part of the growth and positive reconstruction that IT is providing for its future.