Chattanooga Is An "And" City

  • Monday, February 26, 2024

Successful cities, whose people weather tough times and bounce back, do not operate on a binary mode.  In a binary mindset things are either wholly and completely, fully and absolutely one thing (good) or totally and irrevocably another (bad).  The miracle of electronic computing is based on the binary relationship between "1" and "0".  Americans love this idea.  Something "is", or it ”aint".  Though one can subscribe to this simple mindset, one must also be aware that the hazards of doing so far outweigh the supposed benefits.  There is another way of looking at life and approaching issues that allows one to recognize opportunities.  

Binary rigidity blinds one to the opportunities that come from appreciating issues as complex and richly woven situations.  The natural tapestry of our local hillsides and mountains are examples not of binary selection, but of a resilient, complex system of subtle and flexible interrelating systems that have bounced back from overlogging, war, pollution, drought, flood, fires, housing booms and busts, and still supply a bounty of services for every kind of critter you can imagine.  Successful cities, successful people, and successful plans have that flexibility because they are resilient.  They rise up after losing a battle, to eventually win the war.  

Resiliency springs from a mindset of plentitude rather than one of scarcity.   Resiliency arises from the choice to use one word over others.  That word is "and”. “And” gives one the power to understand possibility. A resilient city will have a river and beautiful hills.  It will be a railroad hub and a livable neighborhood. It will have tough times and successes because it is more than one thing to one person. Resilient cities say "yes, and" more than they ever say "no". Can Chattanooga have a new stadium? Yes, and the city needs a working transit system, just a quickly if not sooner. How will all of those people get to the game? What will their experience be?  

Will there be a new stadium? Yes, and people will be able to get there from Brainerd in a bus, and they will spend the last 30 minutes of their travel not facing forward growling at the stop lights while driving in fear of other drivers, rather they will sit as a group, facing each other and talk about how great it is to be together.

Shannon Mikus

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