Civic Pride

It’s well known that Mrs Yeoman Farmer and I much prefer country and small town life to that in even a medium sized city. But cities have their place, and can be valuable for the resources they provide and their opportunities to connect with others.

Some time back, a national magazine put our state’s second largest metro area on its list of “America’s Dying Cities.” But rather than taking the designation laying down, the people of Grand Rapids responded by putting together what may be the most remarkable production of community and civic pride we’ve ever seen:

Videos don’t embed well on my blog, because of the narrow text template. This link will let you watch it on YouTube. If you haven’t seen it yet, make sure you watch it. It is truly amazing.

An NPR story supplies more of the backstory of the video, and is definitely worth reading.

Much has been written in recent years about the decline in American “social capital.” Technological changes, such as television, have led to the dissolution of traditional means (such as civic organizations) by which people used to connect with one another. That may be true, but productions such as this one demonstrate that it doesn’t always have to be. Perhaps particularly in smaller cities such as Grand Rapids, there is still a thriving base of social capital; productions like this one couldn’t be made without it.

And as closely as I watched it, I found no one in the video who was “bowling alone.”

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