Dipping into the blogosphere, I find that fellow Web denizen NA Confidential
has taken up the banner of progress this fine Monday morning.
The contrasts in our respective weekends couldn't have been more severe.
SATURDAY: NA Confidential spent most of his Saturday burrowed into the cave that is his Rich O's/Sportstime Pizza/New Albanian Brewing Co. Volunteer Hoosier enjoyed a day of enlightenment at Southeast Indiana's celebration of Earth Day. NAC in the dark, VH in the sun.
SUNDAY: VH and his bride spent the day at Destinations Booksellers serving the needs of those hardy souls who braved the fine weather to browse and buy. NAC and his bride savored the pleasures of Madison, Indiana's shops, galleries, wineries, and museums. VH in the dark, NAC in the sun.
Yet, on each day, we each undertook explorations of our surroundings and made soundings of the opinions of our fellow citizens. My own weekend was leavened by reading Bernard-Henri Levy's Toquevillian trek across the landscape of America in this month's The Atlantic
. Later this week, I hope to relate some of that with you online.
From our weekends, we each seem to have discovered that, at long last, New Albany is at the tipping point. Almost daily, I hear expressions of appreciation for the news and commentary relayed on this blog and on Roger's. I'm sure he could say the same.
These expressions come in the form of a knowing look and a comment like "I read your blog...and Roger's too. Keep up the good work." Occasionally, it comes in the form of "I enjoy your Web site."
I'd have to say I wonder about the "enjoyment" engendered by these postings. "Angered" sometimes seems more appropriate. "Disturbed" would be an apt word. But I do know what they mean when they say the "enjoy" it.
But Ann, Roger, Tabitha and I are not voices in the wilderness. Since I arrived in New Albany, I've tried to soak up the zeitgeist to understand what this area and this city are all about. I have observed a remarkable cast of characters in New Albany. Many of these folk have been gracious enough to educate me as to the history and peculiarities of the place we call home.
We live in a town filled with remarkably accomplished people. The level of discourse, if not in public meetings, is thoughtful and rational and tolerant and (dare I say it?) progressive. Liberals and conservatives share a heritage of progressivism, and in the context of New Albany that requires a missionary mentality.
What you need to know is that there is a constituency for progress. There is a constituency willing to fight for a clean city with safe streets, clean alleys, effective government and more. New Albany is not a city filled with lone-wolf survivalists demanding nothing more than that government stay out of their business.
If politicians cater to a segment of the population that, for example, believes it is their constitutional right to store old appliances, mufflers, and busted sofas in their weed-infested back yard, it's only because they believe there is no countervailing force that will hold these elected officials to account.
And if a politician is too timid to take a stand for a progressive city that will entice employers, entrepreneurs, and creative types that will enhance the quality of life and provide the amenities that make a city whole, it's only because they are unaware that their constituents are starving for a leader with vision.
That ends now. If a majority of the voters are happy with a crumbling infrastructure, filthy properties, cronyism in politics, underfunded public services, overcrowded public facilities, rundown parks, unpaved streets, limited recreation, crumbling or nonexistent sidewalks, they had better outvote us.
Because WE are the Constituency for Progress. The self-help movement has already begun, but the whole notion of "city" is a planned civilization, and the CFP votes for neighborliness and civilization. We speak so leaders of vision know we exist. Our platform, as we reveal it, is one we invite prospective candidates to mount. But be sure you're bold enough to upset the applecart.
No incumbent is irredeemable. But now is the time to identify yourself if you are an incumbent who belongs to and seeks to serve the Constituency for Progress. We await the roar from both sides.
For those of you reticent to post publicly on this forum, e-mail me at email@example.com
. Let me know if I can repost your comments and let me know if you wish to remain anonymous. But now is the time to identify yourself as a member of the Constituency for Progress. Join us in creating a city our children will want to stay in.