Friday, July 4, 2014

Celebrating Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness

By Jim Vaughan, Senior Fellow.

On April 17, 2013, I wrote a post about Santa Fe, one of America’s great and unique cities, in which I asked the question, “Why don’t I live here?” Today, I’m writing this post as a new resident of Santa Fe. After ten years in Waco, Patty and I have moved to “The City Different” for a year that we are calling “our great adventure.”

We arrived in Santa Fe just before Independence Day—a holiday that will be celebrated here and across the nation with fireworks, parades, speeches, picnics and promotions. Some events are worthy of the great day, some not so much.

MSNBC has been running promos by Chris Matthews leading up to the 4th of July that have put the holiday into perspective for me.

“It took twenty-two months of men debating … to achieve the Declaration of Independence,” Matthews said, reminding us that progressive change takes time. “Abolition would take a great civil war but it came. Woman’s suffrage would take a crusade but it became part in parcel of our democracy. Voting rights have taken a brutal fight as will the case for marriage equality and equal pay for men and women.“

Not everyone will come to Matthews’ conclusion that “liberalism always wins eventually.” But chamber of commerce and economic development professionals know that significant change does occur in America because we have affected change—sometimes significant change—in the cities and states where we work.

Matthews notes that it took the Continental Congress almost two years to write and adopt the Declaration of Independence.

On this 238th anniversary of our nation’s Independence, let’s celebrate the Declaration and the Congress that adopted it. And remember that while change takes time, it also takes leadership and advocates.

Here’s to the leaders and advocates for change in the communities where Market Street is working.