Last week, U.S. Sen. Doug Jones, D-Alabama, hosted a roundtable forum to discuss the future of the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. plant in Gadsden.

That also was topic No. 1 at this week’s meeting of the Etowah County Commission.

We have no way of quantifying this, of course, just call it a “sense” — but we’d wager it’s also topic No. 1 in community conversation, both face to face and on social media.

And why shouldn’t it be?

According to figures presented by United Steelworkers Local 12 officials at last week’s forum, that plant has a $1.53 billion annual impact on this community, including $111 million in salaries, $2.2 million in city taxes and a large chunk of charitable contributions such as to United Way.

The economic and psychological ramifications of losing that are obvious — and people are scared that’s about to happen, given recent layoffs at the Gadsden plant that have it more than 20 percent under its full employment capacity, the news that Goodyear is offering voluntary buyouts to other workers, the fact that it’s been more than a decade since the company has made any capital investments here, the opening of a Goodyear plant in Mexico that has equal capacity but lower operating costs compared to Gadsden, and the silence from the company about the situation.

There was talk at last week’s forum of dialogues between the feds, city, county, state, union and company (with an emphasis on bipartisanship for the politicians) on ways to keep Goodyear here, including “out-of-the-box” ideas like providing incentives to Alabama’s auto manufacturers to use the company’s tires on their vehicles.

Commissioners spoke of getting state and especially federal officials to prioritize the situation, especially the latter since they have the ability to affect Goodyear’s operations and as such could more easily get the company’s attention.

We’re not dismissing those efforts; they should — they must — move forward, and every elected or high-placed official in every governmental entity within the borders of Etowah County should be present and involved, 100 percent of the time, and pester folks in Montgomery and Washington, D.C., to do the same.

We’re not going to hang out the white flag, concede defeat and wait around for the apocalypse, either, even in this grim situation. As much as people in this area love football, the concept of not backing off until the whistle blows should be in their DNA.

But there’s a reality here that can’t be escaped. If Goodyear chooses to stay in Gadsden, it will be for one reason — it’s to the company and its stockholders’ benefit. That’s the way things work in a capitalist free market economy. Goodyear isn’t going to stay in Gadsden just because it’s been here for 90 years, because this area really needs it or because folks need jobs, even if we say “pretty please.”

Convincing the company that staying here is in its best interest may be a difficult if not impossible task. It’s why the same leaders fighting to make that case would be derelict if they weren’t also preparing for a Gadsden without Goodyear.

But if the efforts to keep the plant aren’t focused on that objective, they’re just going to be flailing — and flailing accomplishes nothing.