Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Being the Change Rather than Just Hoping for It

Shana Tova to those who will celebrate Rosh Hashanah beginning at sundown this evening. The seasons are starting to change, summer is ending and fall beginning and with it a rush to ready ourselves, especially here in New England for the winter we so often fear and never quite fully prepare for.

But before we get there, there are some loose ends, at least in my mind to tie up, and one, much like the fresh start and celebration of Rosh Hashanah involves a quiet shift we felt and saw in the last three weeks here in Norwich. 

The visible, to all and sundry, is the magnificent wall-size mural created by Faith Wibberley on the previously blank brick wall of the Spirit of Broadway Theater on Chestnut Street. 

Susan Gale, one of the most relentlessly optimistic people on our planet once suggested "(a) fresh outlook is like a fresh coat of paint. It doesn't cost much, but sometimes it makes a huge difference."  

I find it delightfully ironic that a fresh coat of paint on the Spirit of Broadway was happening, literally, as the organization's against-all-odds $30,000 fundraiser for the World Premiere performance of their musical "Benedict Arnold" was crowned with success.  

As I read the calendar, while many of us will be enjoying the Taste of Italy, Norwich Style, at Howard T. Brown Park or the Greek Festival on Washington Street this Saturday, others of us, with their theatrical noses to the grindstone will have their first rehearsal with an orchestra and a week from today will be the first public performance.  

Thank you to the Spirit of Broadway for creating an opportunity and a project which transcends personal and/or political differences, allowing us as a committed community to rally round for a greater good which hopefully serves as a fulcrum to finally launch historical tourism as a viable regional pursuit and job creator, for so many disparate voices to be heard in a meaningful (and financial) way saying 'yes' to the heritage and history of Norwich, even the parts with blemishes and warts (perhaps especially THOSE parts).

In my opinion, it's another example and amazing proof of what you can get accomplished when no one cares who gets the credit and that takeaway could and should be a teachable moment for all of us, especially for those who are registered Democrats as next Tuesday is a Democratic primary selection for candidate for Mayor. 

As promised/threatened here some time ago, I will not offer you, as a fellow-registered Democrat, an opinion about for whom you should vote, except to insist you owe it to yourself and to the rest of us as a registered voter to find your way to a polling place between the time they open and close next Tuesday. No excuses.

I'm tired of elections in Norwich coming down to a choice between Ignorance and Apathy-the dynamic duo of "I don't know" and "I don't care.' We spend more time deciding on what to order from a fast-food menu than we do in analyzing the qualifications and abilities of the neighbors who choose to run for public office. 

But don't we love to howl when "they" turn out to not be like "us?" Except, of course in a democracy, especially at the local level, there is no "us" or "them" just we the people. 

So with so many marvelous things happening incrementally across Norwich, these are truly the days of miracles and wonders, invest in yourself and in one another, and be an exclamation and not an explanation.
-bill kenny 

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