Caring for our community and convening citizens to care for their community is difficult work. We are working against the whole tide of the dominant culture which worships individualism, self-interest, and competition. As a culture, we collectively hold the idea that if you are poor, vulnerable, and can’t compete well, it is your fault. This is part of the reason community building is so isolating.
Though you will never see it in the news, there is a surge of localism going on, a citizen-based movement toward interdependence, generosity, and cooperation that is changing the world. One example: We recently held a conference of community builders in Cincinnati and in that room were leaders of traditional systems––business executives, a school board president, a city manager, union leaders, nuns, and ministers. They know that something very new is required of traditional systems if they are going to thrive.
Mike Butler is an example of where the future of leadership exists right now. Police Chief and now also Fire Chief of Longmont, CO, Mike has been reconstructing the role of public safety for twenty years. He has demonstrated that citizens’ coming together in a place keeps it safe. He is making fire houses centers for community health. He does this not as a guerilla venture, but on the radar and in full view.
Mike joined John and me on an online/dial-up conversation on May 29th that is available for you to listen to or download. Here’s a preview and introduction to Mike.