To put it bluntly, the new traffic light in front of the high school sucks. It’s slow, it stops you at the worst possible moments – such as when nature calls – and it seems to have a mind of its own. Still, when a lengthy traffic light is the worst of your town’s problems, I think it’s fair to say you’ve got it pretty good.

Imagine instead that Derby was a town riddled with crime. Imagine not feeling safe walking down the street, or playing in a park, or sending your kids to the bus stop each morning. Imagine having a police force that didn’t have the time or energy to focus on community policing because they instead had to focus on violence, theft, and other major crimes.

Or imagine that your town’s drinking water had so much lead and contaminants in it that you couldn’t safely drink it. You’d have to rely on bottled water, or make a trek to Wichita just to safely hydrate yourself. Imagine waking up each day and wondering, “Does my family have enough clean water to make it through the day?” Imagine worrying if you’re going to get cancer because you didn’t know your town’s water supply is poisonous.

Or imagine that Derby was a town poisoned by corruption. Imagine that the town’s leaders were all part of a good old boys club, using their power to line their pockets and benefit only themselves. Imagine living in a town where city council and other elected officials didn’t care about developing the local economy, or adding new public amenities, or quickly addressing any problems that arise (such as an annoying traffic light).

That traffic light is annoying. It does need to be fixed, and it seems the city has already been making adjustments to it. But look at the big picture. If that small annoyance can be such a big deal, maybe there are bigger things to be thankful for in this city.

I’m not here to give Derby’s leadership a pat on the back. I live in Wichita, so I’m just looking at this issue as an outsider. But from what I’ve seen, there’s not much to complain about here. There are comparable cities that have it much worse than Derby. They might have those problems that I mentioned, or they might have countless other problems. So by all means, go ahead and complain about the light. It’s your right as a tax-paying citizen. But if that traffic light really ruined your day, or inspired you to write an enraged Facebook post, or made you want to recall the town’s leadership, take a step back and realize this – you’ve got it pretty good.


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