To Listen, click here.
The living embodiment of personal ideals finds no greater host than our cities.
Visions and values whisper from the spires that pierce metropolitan skies and from the rooftops dotting quiet tree-lined streets. The goals of progress, of equality, of majestic ambition, walk our streets as citizens and neighbors. Likewise, the rigor of apathy, the fears of change and difference, hide in our alleyways and shirk from civic responsibility.
Our parks, our roads, our schools – indeed, the very way we live our lives – speak volumes to the principles we hold dear. Cities tell us that we lift high the ethic of shared responsibility and common achievement, spurred by individual commitments to success.
The beauty of the city lies in a remarkable inability to choose isolation. Instead, the city is built by knitting together neighborhoods made stronger by a sharing of experiences. We are bound by the most basic of linkages, be it a common street or an essential industry.
Cities, by their sheer density and by the interweaving of services, require a participation that is unavoidable. By choosing to live in spaces carved into cities, we learn to be responsible for our place and to look out for our neighbor. We are called upon to be courageous in our engagement with folks who neither look nor think like ourselves. Challenges like poverty and disease exhort us to be compassionate and to set aside prejudice in favor of helping those in need.
When we opt for separation, we grant our lesser motives free rein to divide our strength. Whether the population is five hundred, five thousand or five hundred thousand, a city is strongest, most vibrant, when it seeks to highlight the power of joined forces.
No city is immune to the ravages of economic depression or the constant mismatch between needs and resources. But cities uniquely battle in the gap. When fences between people stretch higher and longer, it is the obligation of cities to scale those barriers and skirt those perimeters because we cannot survive separately.
State officials elected to serve are obliged to honor the singular role of cities. Laws passed and requirements meted out must be tested against whether their impact binds cities tighter or weakens these essential bonds.
Without cities, we are loose confederations of individuals with aspirations and hopes. As cities, we are dynamic, energetic forces for soaring achievement, driven by the engine of that most precious resource – our people.