To be delivered at the Sunday Morning Forum of the First Unitarian Society of Milwaukee, 10:15 to 11:15, Sunday, February 6, 2005.
Here is the poem not delivered:
A Poem for the Unitarians by a Black Irishman from a Renaissant Bay
We are the Children of the Sewer Socialists,
We are the life stream
That marched across that bridge for rainbow communities and workplaces,
And marched on Washington for peace and civil rights.
And here we stand now,
What to do.
Talk, in person, on line.
Seek your proper place,
And have a very good time.
Pozo… Porqué no… Organice. Hable, en persona, en línea. Busque su lugar apropiado Y tenga un rato muy bueno.’
P.S. Soon Bay View and other Historic Milwaukee neighborhoods will be
asked to offer ideas about what kind of exhibits should be set up at
the American Freedom Center, probably to locate at the Soldiers Home
Grounds, sometime over the next few years, and what kind of
representation should be expected for Civil Society “valor” as Bay
View has offered over the past 5 generations in the cause of liberty,
equality, democracy, and nation building.
Speech Not Delivered
My Mother and Father, and my Ancestors and Family, not to mention my Self, are pleased and honored, to find me here today, with Unitarians and Friends, giving voice to my thoughts regarding Historic Preservation and the embryonic Milwaukee Renaissance.
Mi madre y padre, y mis antepasados y familia, no mencionar a mi uno mismo, son contentos y honrados, encontrarme aquí hoy, con Unitarians y los amigos, dando voz a mis pensamientos con respecto la preservación histórica y al renacimiento embrionario de Milwaukee.
In my daily rounds, driving my daughters Bridie and Megan to the New School for Community Service, or Bucketworks and Timbuktu, respectively, or driving to work on roofs or to peddle my heroes and worthy causes, Historic Milwaukee, the Old City, has become a feast for my eyes, and a source of great joy and hope for my soul.
En mis redondos diarios, conducir a mis hijas Bridie y Megan a la escuela nueva para el servicio de comunidad, o Bucketworks y Timbuktu, respectivamente, o el conducir al trabajo sobre las azoteas o peddle mis héroes y causas dignas, Milwaukee histórico, la vieja ciudad, se ha convertido en un banquete para mis ojos, y una fuente de la grandes alegría y esperanza de mi alma.
The great city of Milwaukee is back, for another round of big city drama, a social narrative that will find Milwaukee choosing Athens over Sparta, as we are doing in Saving the Lakefront from the warship, in Saving the Soldiers Home from decay or thoughtless militarism.
La gran ciudad de Milwaukee está detrás, para otro redondo del drama grande de la ciudad, una narrativa social que encuentre Milwaukee el elegir de Atenas sobre Sparta, como estamos haciendo en ahorrar el lakefront del buque de guerra, en ahorrar a los soldados a casa de decaimiento o de militarismo thoughtless.
Milwaukee is re-visioning itself as home to “New Americans” from throughout the planet as at Timbuktu in Riverwest, and as home to new kinds of Americans, what I call the creative working classes, from all of God’s children, a rainbow celebration, in Milwaukee, where the waters meet.
There are thousands of Milwaukee citizens, daily connected on line, who will forever fight to save our city’s soul…our lakes and rivers, our parks and neighborhoods, schools and libraries, restaurants and cafes, shops and studios, streets and alleys, trees, grass, and sky.
The great story we call Milwaukee, offers ample reason to believe there is a purpose for our stay in time and space. Father Teillhard’s Chardin’s notions of the divinisation of matter and the “thinking envelope” of the planet earth, or Rumi and Hafiz’s talk of drowning in God, are quite evident in the people’s works in our fair city of Milwaukee.
Exuberant adaptation, reciprocal altruism, love, and common sense are my Milwaukee’s clearest expression.
I daily witness healthy individuation and the vital sparks and connections of community creating, all over town.
In the Milwaukee of my daily rounds are countless work scenes where the golden rule and the golden mean are quietly pervasive. Dozens of new hero quests in the old city enrich my consciousness, informed daily by Milwaukee’s lovely Mind On Line in just about all of our neighborhoods and public interest communities.
With internet connected progressive citizens, it will become very hard for small minorities to prevail against increasingly organized majorities. With information, intelligence, and connectivity increasingly available to citizens, aggrendizers and free-riders will have a much harder time. The iron law of oligarchy, premised on information monopolies, may become part of the dustbin of history,like the Divine Right of Kings had to give way to the rising power of the bourgeoisie.
Historic Milwaukee has increasingly offered me multiple opportunities to encounter people with fine minds and good hearts, progressives in the tradition of Milwaukee’s labor/socialist alliance, Wisconsin’s LaFollette dynasty, the civil rights and anti-war Democrats of the 1950s and 1960s, who immortalized Wisconsin’s intense resolve to forever engage against the arrogance of power at the 1968 Democratic National Convention.
The Historic Preservation Movement of Milwaukee is now premised on the notion that preservation makes sense not only for meaning and beauty, but also for money and sustainable development.
If it is true that Milwaukee is in transition from an industrial to an information and service society, and that creativity is the key to economic growth in the world marketplace, then we must carefully attend to the question of what kind of city fosters the creative working classes and avante guard knowledge workers requisite for new enterprises and job growth.
Many Milwaukeeans are coming to appreciate the relationship between urban design and beauty and our ability to develop, attract, and retain people with high value added skill sets, entrepreneurial energies, and a commitment to the commonwealth. Networks of artist and artisan custom shops are developing that hope to team up with schools and building owners to increase the supply of talented but modest artisans and architectural artists.
Places that evoke a sense of awe, wonder, and peace are vital for the mental and emotional health of our citizens. That the Soldiers Home buildings have been literally rotting for the past 20 years but are now on the edge of renewal is the most dramatic evidence of our fair city’s awakening to the power of our history for the good of our future.
Anxieties about crime have played a role in the suburban exodus. The emergence of neighborhoods like Riverwest with increasingly connected neighbors, a thick, participatory civil society, and increasingly more and more people on the streets at neighborhood enterprises brings to mind Jane Jacobs’ basic premises from “The Death and Life of Great American Cities”: people on the sidewalks are the best security force possible. There are many signs of improved community/police relationships that suggest the time is ripe to call for a great return of our brothers and sisters lost in the banality of cars, malls, and excessive suburban lots and dwellings. Milwaukee should welcome its children lost to the suburban diaspora. The Mainstreet and Walk to Work projects offer some good concepts and resources for this effort. I have a dream of Rockwell International connecting with community efforts to foster “social enterprise homesteading of main streets” for modestly paid employees
In an Historic City in Renaissance, education is a lifelong process, combining formal, theoretical work in classrooms, librariers, and increasingly on-line, with real-life experiences in the various sectors of society. As more of our learning, business, and commonwealth efforts are computer and internet based, a greater percentage of our work life can occur in our homes or neighborhoods, rather than formal work places. Much of the work of the creative working classes can occur at work stations away from work.
A city empowering its citizens in educational experiments throughout the lives of the citizens, e.g. social internships, cafe cyber mentors, neighborhood networks, wiki webs for creatives.
A city aggressively promoting itself as place for creatives to make a life and for cultural and heritage tourism rooted in our unique social democratic traditions, our historic neighborhoods, and the creativity of our citizens.
Theory and Practice to Spark a Renaissance of Historic Milwaukee
I am a great believer in the value of experiments in society that are informed by theories, and which, in turn, help refine, modify, or transform the theory. I have become increasingly impressed with the value of metaphors, concepts, and “good idears” to increase the value of our social practice. I also use ideas and thoughts influence my moods, i.e. we feel as we think, we think rooted in words.
Working Theory #1. The Time Is Ripe for Nanosecond Partners in Social Enterprise
I believe that just about everyone I encounter is a potential partner in the good cause. The probability of that being the case is especially so if that person is internet empowered and predisposed to swap “good idears” and stories about advancing Milwaukee as a key part of fulfilling their personal and family responsibilities.
If a person is internet empowered and enjoys giving “voice” to their most enobling aspirations, they are good potential partners for experiments in social enterprise, be that small businesses or a social cause. Everyone is an expert in that which engages their daily works and passions. Sparking visions and experiments and connecting people with complimentary quests is made more easy by an unhurried exchange of ideas on line, punctuated with good encounters in social settings.
I-Thou, Adaptive, Partnerships and Hero Quests, Ground in Persistent, Exuberant, and Nuanced Combinatorial Play, Across Ancient Divides of Identity and Work, Seeking Enlightenment and the Middle Way, Submitting to the Tragic Aspect of Mortal Life, Transcending Status Anxiety, In Fields of Interconnected Round Tables, Incrementally Reducing the Sway of Free Riders through the Full Employment of Anti-Cheating Technologies and Thoughtful Acculturation, Drowning in God
R……………..rainbow, advance harmony of major identity groups
E……………..ecology, advance cause of healthy land, water, air, environment
D……………..design, advance city beautify and new urbanism movements
P……………..preservation, advance the husbanding of our historic treasures
E……………..enterprise, advance sustainable economic development and creative job growth
N…………….network, harness the power of the internet to the good fight, grow the on-line
Milwaukee “social brain” and internet empower the Milwaukee working classes
Notes Made in Preparation for Talk with the Unitarians
Milwaukee is consilient, combinatorial play.
Milwaukee is Riverwest and Timbuktu, Bay View, Groppi’s Market, and Bucketworks.
Filled with I-Thou possibilities across divides.
Co-create the movements for the Renaissance, Milwaukee Non-Partisan Leagues
Milwaukee as modest, charming mecca of a renewed American Movement.
Milwaukee, where the waters and all of God’s children meet.
The emerging hegemony of Mind and Soul in Milwaukee.
The internet empowerment of Milwaukee is the best “air power” on the planet.
Merchant Peddlers for Historic Milwaukee