Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Call Upon The Geography of Your Own Past

Bruce Springsteen's song "My Hometown" is about a town that bears no similarity to anything that my kids could go see today nor to anything I experienced growing up either.  But, it speaks volume to me as a person who grew up in what some would call a "Rust Belt" town.

That's why I was sorry to have missed, until now, David Brooks' June 25 op-ed in the NYT titled "The Power of the Particular."  It speaks volumes to me too.

It wraps up Springsteen and an inside look at understanding the value of hometown into one piece.

It speaks to me in many ways beyond what Brooks writes. 

There is something to this geography thing.  There is hope for places like Ohio that may have a boring or "Rust Belt" persona to outsiders yet have a huge appeal to the homesick and people who never lived here--if we can figure out how to tap it.

Brooks' advice to politicians and business leaders could have been advice to economic development people in Ohio:  "Call more upon the geography of your own past.  Be distinct and credible. People will come."

Sorry to not have shared this one sooner.

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