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Carole Meekins: Positively Milwaukee

Milwaukee, don't hate yourself!!!! 7/14/07

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On a beautiful day, with glorious weather, I cannot help but feel proud to live in Milwaukee. We are so blessed with so many treasures that it's amazing that Milwaukee suffers from a poor self image. Case in point. This week thousands are taking in the sights and sounds of Bastille Days. For the rest of the season there will be a Festival every week. How many cities can boast such!!! Of course there are other gems from the Calatrava to Mitchell Park Domes...to Miller Park..Milwaukee has a lot to offer! But I still hear people say there's nothing to do here. Often I hear people who were born and raised here talk down about their hometown.Why? I remember years ago taking a tour of the West Coast while touring with the University of Illinois Concert Choir. We all stayed with different families. One of our stops was Portland Oregon. All our host family did was brag about the wonderments of Portland. She went on and on about how too many people were moving there. She had true love for her city. She was not happy and wished the city would keep stop growing. She talked at length about the neighborhoods, the landmarks and the charm. We were all just college students and our minds were not heavily on civic pride. At the time I thought she was going overboard! After all we were on our way to San Francisco...so Portland did not exactly seem like a major destination. But now that I am older, wiser, and more interested in civic pride I understand. She was sort of like an ambassador to the place she chose to live. She was like a mother describing her children. Her love of the city was infectious. In fact, years later, if people asked me if I had been to Portland I immediately remarked how lovely it was.But sometimes I wonder, was I just parroting her self-love mantra?.What would I have said had the people in Portland not been so enthusiastic, proud, and loving about their city? What if they had had a bad self image...played up the negatives and dismissed the positives? When a mother first describes her young brood, she will not first say Johnny has ADD, or Sally wets the bed. She will usually highlight the special qualities of her little darlings. I say that's what we should do Milwaukee. We have a lot of discussions about what is wrong with the Brew City. But let's also talk about what is right. Ultimately a healthy self image is the foundation of success. It doesn't matter whether it's a child or a city. Let's talk up our virtues.If we don't who will?

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