An open letter to you…

We are facing difficult times.

It seems we are hearing bad news at every turn. New Orleans remains in shambles a little over two years after the levees failed. The number of illegal immigrants now living in this country is estimated to be around 12,000,000. The war in Iraq continues with no apparent end in site. The value of the dollar continues to fall. Foreclosures reach new levels each month.

We are facing difficult times.

Each challenge is presented in a neat package. Each challenge is presented with numbers and graphs. Each challenge is presented in turn on the nightly news. Numbers and graphs may present one view of the facts. Numbers and graphs accompanied by sound bites present a slanted view of the challenges that face us. Conservative and liberal biased media outlets present opposing views of the challenges and equally opposing views of what should be done to address these challenges.

The challenges seem so overwhelming, that many of us don’t know where to begin to address them. I am just one of many that believe that we do have the power to change the course of these events and in doing so, change the course of history.

Let me back up a bit. Hurricane Katrina was forecast and most people knew ,that if it did hit close to New Orleans, the subsequent damage would be significant. No one expected the levees to fail. Spending time attempting to place blame on anyone detracts from where our focus should be.

The people in the 9th ward did not plan to be in the path of flooding waters. They were working people. They were living their lives as best they could. Each of them has a story that can not be told by lumping their plight into one big problem. They had dreams when they moved into the 9th ward. Those dreams did not wash away in the flood waters.

The illegal immigrants did not march across our borders 12,000,000 strong. They came alone or in small groups. They came to realize the dream of living in our wonderful country. Their desire does not remove their guilt for crossing illegally nor does their status diminish their dream. Each of them has a story that can not be told when you lump them all into a number. They had dreams when they came here. Those dreams will not be erased by deportation nor will they be squashed by the construction of a large wall.

Our involvement in Iraq is a fact. A resolution will never be found if both sides continue to discuss how we got there. Every day, soldiers that represent us go out on missions or patrols and put their lives on the line. They do not decide when or where, they just follow orders. They are all volunteers. They each believe that they are serving their country and doing their part so that we may continue to live free. Each one of them has a story, a family and a dream. The dirt, dust and constant threat to their lives has not ended their dreams.

The value of the dollar is impacted by our purchasing and our saving. It is impacted by our investments. It is impacted by the way we live our lives. The dollar is one measure of our economy. We can not allow that which measures us to continue to falter.

We are all quite aware of the foreclosure problems. Investors that were attempting to make profits within the system have been caught short. There is no sin in attempting to better your financial position. Home owners were buying a place for their family to live. They may have stretched what they could accomplish. Most of them did not do so maliciously. Realtors were showing homes and selling homes to willing buyers. That is what we were asked to do. Lenders made loans. Appraisers appraised homes. The majority of all of the people in trouble never dreamed that they would find themselves in this position. No one plans to have their furniture piled on the side of the road. Everyone in this situation was attempting to realize dreams. Those dreams did not die with the downturn of the market.

So I wonder what if we each take responsibility to do our best to make our little corner of the world better. Not one of us has the power to fix all of this. Each of us has the power to do our job with the focus on making it better.

Can we just look at each situation on its own merits? Can we stop lumping everyone and everything into a neat package? None of these problems are insurmountable.

If we deal with one family at a time, eventually the entire southeastern coast will be rebuilt. It will not happen in a day or a week or probably a year, but one day we will achieve success and those dreams will remain alive.

If we understand the motivation of illegal’s and endeavor to deal with each situation, we will correct the current problem. It will take years to sort out, but in the interim, could we possibly stop painting the tarnished cloud of “you must be illegal” that hangs over every Latino’s head. One day, we will facilitate the dream of citizenship that they cherish.

None of us is in a position to change the course of events in the Middle East. We can study the problem, listen to solutions and vote for candidates that we believe offer a way out. I would never pretend to know whether the solution is a continued presence or a 100% draw down of the troops. I am willing to let better minds than mine make that call. I do believe that we need to speak our piece at the ballot box. Once the election is over, we all need to come together and support whoever wins. We are one country. We must keep our dreams alive as well.

The same can be said regarding the value of the dollar and our worldwide economic situation and our current exorbitant national debt. We must listen, study and vote. Once we have done so, support those that we have charged with the responsibility of guiding our ship of state.

The last issues are the ones that we as Realtors, lenders, etc can directly impact. We can look at situations as they exist today and do our best to resolve them. Each person has a story and we must listen and do what we can to help them. There is no solution found in judgment nor is there any resolution is blame. We have the wonderful opportunity of assisting those in trouble. We may not be able to fix what is wrong, but we do have the skills to assist them in finding the best solution possible, one family at a time.

We are facing difficult times.

I believe that we have the talent and ability to make a difference.

I invite you to join me in re-dedicating our efforts……one family at a time.

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