Friday, May 4, 2012

The Chamber, Commerce and the Montgomery CVB

Quite often, while out and about in our fair city, I will look around and marvel at the development that has taken place over the years. Seriously, sometimes I am truly amazed with the efforts of our downtown revitalization, as well as the retail developments on the east side of town. I think of the events that the city plays host to each year, and how fortunate we are to be able to enjoy book festivals, Jubilee, food festivals, minor league baseball and stadium food, with beer even. And while in my Montgomery induced stupor, I wonder what it would take to entice others to come and enjoy all that Montgomery has to offer. I'd like for others to take in and take advantage of our state's capitol, the city we are fortunate enough to call and consider home. A couple of days ago I had another epiphany: if we would only work as hard as we can to develop, grow and build the best city that we possibly can--physically, socially and ideologically--just for us, without regard to what tourists might want, we will inevitably develop a city that others will want to visit or live in because its development and growth will be based more upon on actuals than conjecture. But, today, I pondered another reason people should flock to our city--democracy. Montgomery, again, is the seat of the state's government and Dexter Avenue is ideal for protesting--very orderly and respectfully, of course--the causes of the day. It would be super cool to cultivate a mini D.C., an area that people associated with free speech, the right to assemble, and strategically run lots and lots of paid-in-advance issue advertising because our politicians are right here. Another plus, we have more than enough lodging to accommodate those who want to visit for their cause. A $5 million hospitality investment is already underway. This is not a call for civil disobedience, but rather civil engagement in the democratic process. Perhaps being labeled a progressive isn't about liberalism or conservatism. Maybe it can be about encouraging the discourse, welcoming challenging viewpoints, and courting the unconventional.