NYCO's post in particular struck a chord within me. In it, she discusses a new take on York State history that can be an inspiration for all of us today. It is a take on the pre-Civil War decades that I have discussed earlier here. NYCO writes:
“…[Upstate’s] golden age was really the couple of decades before the Civil War, when the aim here — on all sorts of levels — was to create a world that had never existed before, whether it was physically, socially or spiritually. Upstate New York stood out sharply against the dominant culture of its day 150 years ago and was twenty years ahead of everyone else. What America eventually became, as impressive as it did become, is just a pale shadow compared to what was envisioned here back then.These are powerful sentiments and ones that I wholeheartedly agree with. For too long, our region, and especially its press and governmental officals, have focused upon the doom and gloom of Rust Belt existence. We are caught up in complaints about taxes, the hegemony of the City, unemployment and snow. While these are all real problems, by complaining alone we accomplish nothing but perhaps making ourselves feel better about our inaction and mediocrity. What creates true change and rebirth is instead a grand vision, one both of the past and of the future.
I say we here in upstate New York put out a call for people... who are skeptical about the 21st-century American dream and can imagine a better one; who recognize that upstate New York never was, is not, and will not be just like the rest of the country; that it is situated in a historical time zone that — in both good times and bad — is a few decades in the future from the rest of America."
In crafting and making real this vision, we can take our inspiration from great York Staters of the past: the eloquence of Frederick Douglass, the courage of the "caged lioness" Elizabeth Katy Stanton, the compassion for justice of Susan B. Anthony and the sacrifice of John Brown.
Simultaneously, we can draw strength from the natural splendour of our native state: the magnificent solitude of the Adirondacks, the awesome thunder Niagara Falls and the quiet way that a snowfall in your front yard can make our hectic world slow down, if only for a few hours.
While we will need to focus on the problems of the day, with unemployment, decay and youth flight featuring highly upon the list, we can use our regional pride and identity mingled with our own creativity and passion, to create a new path for American society towards a more peaceful, meaningful and sustainable way of life.
Posted by Jesse