Dreamer is sometimes used as a pejorative word. It connotes naivety and excessive confidence in an idea destined to fail. It’s even in our music. From Aerosmith to Supertramp, the message is clear: be careful, you silly dreamers.
Land of dreamers
But remember, the folks who sang those songs lived in vans and wore leather pants and boas. They were dreamers. And I like dreamers. As Americans, I think that deep down we all like them. After all, America is the land of dreamers. If you prefer a land of cold stark realities and practical day jobs, well, Eastern Europe circa 1981 might be more to your liking.
Americans built highways from coast to coast across a rugged continent. We put satellites into space and created a network of communication that touches every point on earth from the palm of our hands. Heck, we went to the moon. This is the land of dreams.
Pipe dreams don’t cut it
The term pipe dreams goes back to the days when people smoked opium from pipes as a medicinal treatment. We weren’t so wise then. Mothers used to give children opium syrup to make them go to sleep. Writers such as John Keats and Lord Byron used to smoke “dream sticks” to boost their poetic inspiration.
Well, I may like dreams, but I don't like pipe dreams. Hallucinatory visions might have helped guys in Britain write romantic poems, but they don’t help with much else. I like dreams that become reality through hard work, practical goals and diligent execution. If you bring your dreams to me, show me how you can make them real.
Dreaming of a better Grand Island
I dream of a Grand Island that is safe to walk and play — where kids can go to school and everyone can enjoy outdoor fitness and health without fear of getting hit by a car. I see a Grand Island that is powered by solar energy and that has broadband providing lightning-fast internet services to our homes and business, thus attracting investment.
And I see a Grand Island that stays green FOREVER as we zone out the high-density apartment complexes and strip malls that ruined so much of the American heartland. Finally, I see a Grand Island that has far less empty buildings, and far more unique small businesses. We need places that are ours to work and thrive, plant and grow, strive and reach. That dream is out there, just beyond our fingertips.
With the right people, more dreams will come true
The dream of a better Grand Island will largely just be smoke and a pipe dream unless we have the right leadership. Despite fierce opposition we have been able to accomplish AMAZING things in less than two years. Goals like getting cashless tolls or getting the Dunlop building reopen are now old news, with people asking me, “What’s taking so long?” People called both of these goals pipe dreams when I ran for office. Just imagine what we could do if we had a group that worked together instead of finding ways to fight each other.
So, here’s another part of my dream for a better Grand Island. I dream that on November 7 everyone votes. Only a fraction of the population voted last election, and less than 1,500 residents voted in the primaries this year. I dream that those of you who do vote do it for the right reasons after studying what the candidates actually stand for. Most importantly, I dream that you vote for candidates with a a real work ethic and a willingness to develop a healthy esprit de corps.
Yes vote, but better yet, vote smart
Please look at each candidate’s claims and qualifications. First, what have they done in the past that demonstrates they would be a good leader? Second, what special skills or insight do they have? Third, what past participation in government or community service have they engaged in? How many town meetings have they come to?
Do you know them from church or school or business? That’s fine. But the real question is, “Would you trust them to handle millions of dollars in tax money?” And maybe more importantly, "Can you trust them with the future of this town?" I hope so, because that will be their job.
Maybe my idea for a Grand Island that votes based on merit is just a pipe dream. Most likely people will do what they always do and just vote party lines or for their pals. But who knows? Not every dream is a pipe dream. We already proved it!