• Opinion by Katie and Grayson Vandegrift

The ‘old’ and ‘new’ Midway

Even though we don’t talk about it much, virtually everyone who lives in our community is aware of the notion of “Old Midway” and “New Midway.” Perhaps not by coincidence, one could argue that Midway is at the same time getting both older and younger; in a word, it’s changing. This can understandably lead to tension which seems to bubble up to the surface in our public discourse from time to time. Since its’ very beginning our city has seen great change, and the citizens who helped lead us through prior times deserve immense recognition and praise. Those who’ve known Midway most or all their lives have a sense of history so important and precious that it is rightfully being preserved in a Midway Branch Library recorded series, in a newly revitalized Museum project, and now on social media sites. Within the last few decades, Midway has also welcomed more and more folks who’ve adopted this city as their own. Now it seems that participation from newer citizens in civic leadership and government is at an all-time high in our city and in many other cities across the country. There are those who feel that they will never be truly welcomed by some because they came here, and there are others who feel that these newcomers, familiar and well-meaning as they are, can never be truly “of” Midway. As dismayed as we’ve sometimes been by certain comments, it’s understandable why some people who were born here feel that the town is now being run by those who were not. In the world we live in, where information can be shared with a click, it’s undoubtedly easier for it to feel like the spotlight shines on recent accomplishments while the foundations that got us here hide in shadow. It’s no mystery why this could create resentment. But it could be that there is a fundamental misunderstanding between these “two Midways” – that somehow our interests are not aligned. Both “new” and “old” Midway have at times felt aggrieved by the other, but out of communication comes understanding. We all want the same things. We all want our city to thrive and prosper. We all want Midway to be a great place to raise our children, to take care of our parents, and to one day be taken care of ourselves. We all want Midway to continue being the greatest town anywhere. While we feel that our city is more united than most, and that we’re working together better than most, it would be willfully ignorant to assume there are not resentments that need reconciliation. Regardless of your beliefs or political affiliation, we all know this country is divided. The country is not going to heal itself from the top down, but from the ground up. We have to heal our communities, one by one, as a patchwork, to truly unite this nation once again.

Midway has always been a leader. From its very inception as a city until the present day, history shows that Midway has always been ahead of the curve. Let’s lead yet again. Let’s talk about what does divide our community, not ignore it or pretend it isn’t there. Let’s heal wounds that have been left untreated. We have so many mechanisms in place already to have good conversations: the post office, the corner grocery, city council meetings, monthly community dinners at Midway Christian Church, and various other events and gatherings throughout the year. We have to talk to each other face-to-face again, and the easiest way to do that is in our own communities. From there, who knows where the conversation goes, but it’s a good way to be reminded that at the most basic level we’re neighbors, and we agree much more often than not.

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