Monday, August 02, 2004

Love and Vigilance

Today's entry will begin with a confession.
I am in love.

Not the rose-colored infatuation of a crush, nor the obsessive passion of a sexy romance. Nope, this is the come-hell-or-high-water, in it for the long haul, unconditional kind of love affair.

And now (terrible tease that I am), I shall burst the bubbles of any of you who hoped to read a steamy account of a scandalous relationship. I have finally admitted to myself that I am very much in love with... my city.

Yesterday, I found myself getting angry with Cleveland as I read the Plain Dealer Sunday Arts section articles by Carolyn Jack, on our lack of an Arts festival, and Steven Litt's column on the (lack of) development along East 9th Street.
Because I tend to analyze feelings and emotions, I noted that my anger was more of frustration than disgust. Like the anger one has with a family member who does something stupid or self defeating, as opposed to the dismissive anger that develops between business associates or seminal romances gone awry.
Unlike the thousands of people who have left this city to quietly suffer it's 'Crisis', I find myself more determined to stay and search for it's salvation.

Yesterday's frustration was incited by the quote under Carolyn Jack's 'Why Not Us?' headline in reference to the lack of a big Arts Festival in Cleveland.
"If it doesn't have an artistic vision, it won't succeed."
To lead an article about a positive proposal for our city with a statement predicting failure goes against every common sense rule of marketing. Is it any wonder that we are a city renowned for our lack of self-esteem? Who's agenda is served by proclaiming a lack of artistic vision in the city? That is a trick straight out of Marketing Psych 101. If a phrase is repeated often enough it will be perceived as fact.

Steven Litt, known for his chronic negativity, maintained his usual tone throughout his discussion of what we should do with "Rock and Roll Blvd." His complaints were typical and didn't trip my hot wire. What did bother me was the gray-box announcement headlined "Have Your Say" advertising a public forum to gather ideas on how to re-energize E 9th St.
If there is no actual money to realize a proposal, than why is such an effort being made to publicize it? Could this be a public distraction to divert our attention from a private deal? Keep listening for the sound of the door closing to the back room boys and girls.

I started my essay by proclaiming that I was in love.
I defined my love as unconditional.
I am further defining it as protective, as vigilant, and as nurturing.

There are plenty of other Clevelanders who feel the same way as I do about our city. We are not elite, we are grassroots. We may not be insiders, but we are not naive. We are here for the long haul and not for the fast buck. And we are finally beginning to realize that by combining the sincerity of our hearts with the collective energy of our creativity we can make good things happen here.

No comments: