Civic pride.

Like all of us, I spend a decent amount of time wandering the garden paths of links and blogrolls. Most of it is relatively interesting, although perhaps perishably so. I’m also an omnivorous reader of books, and an egalitarian one. I’ve read all kinds of literature, and things that probably shouldn’t be called literature.

Every so often you come across an article or post like this one, by Karen Foley.

I share this with you because as I was reading it, I was struck by the tone of civic pride. Warm and embedded, Karen wasn’t wearing her Bangor cheerleading hat, she was talking to her fellow citizens of Bangor, speaking of shared experiences.

This is Old Maine. My grandparents spoke this way of Portland, my parents of Auburn when we were young. It’s not about justifying or defending or protesting our inferiority complexes to the outsiders, it’s not even about squawking about who’s from Away or what that even means. It’s civic discourse, literally a conversation between people who are part of community, focused on the problems, opportunities, and ideas of their city or town.

I find that admirable, and I find it admirable that Karen takes the time to recognize not only the positives within her community, but also to recognize the individuals doing good. My mother used to put her hands on her hips, tilt her head to one side, and mock scold,

“Caught you being good!”

while we squirmed in embarrassed happiness. Public recognition does that.

So, Karen, thanks for that. Caught you being good, and catching other people being good.

Not a bad way to start the year.

-Leah

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