Today ends YP week in Milwaukee, co-sponsored by OnMilwaukee.com, where I work, and a creature of Newaukee, the organization of young professionals that is working to make this a better place to live and work and play. In fact, OnMilwaukee.com and its co-owner Jeff Sherman helped found the city's first young professions group, Fuel Milwaukee (formerly YPM).
I didn't participate in YP week, but it was open to everyone. If they had an OP week, I could probably go. Weeks and events aside, I do have a couple of words of advice for the young people who are gathering and participating.
You guys don’t have to reinvent the wheel. What you really have to do is make the road smoother for that wheel to roll on.
You are not the only people who are making important decisions about this city. I’m part of the generation that has made, and continues to make in many cases, crucial decisions about politics, business, the arts and living.
Don’t forget about us. We are eager to share with you the things we’ve done and the things we’ve learned over decades. We’ve made mistakes, and you can learn from ours. We’ve done things right, too, and you can also learn from that.
Many of us have families and children who are your contemporaries. We care about them, about all of you, a great deal. We know how intractable some of the problems are here. We know that there are no easy or quick answers for a lot of them.
But we also believe that there are some quick answers to some of the issues. We sometimes haven’t had either the skill or the will to get some things done we know we should have.
But we believe in you. We want you to be successful. We admire your passions and your energy and your ability to work in a cooperative way. That’s something a lot of us could have learned from you. Our generation was good at protecting our own interests, but not so great at working with people who had different agenda.
So, don’t be afraid to ask. I’ve been involved in the arts in this town for over 50 years. I’ve been involved in politics and journalism for the same amount of time. I don’t have all the answers, but I might have a few that would be helpful to you in your journey.
As I said, don’t be afraid to ask. We truly want to help.
I'm pretty sure I can speak for the youth of MKE by saying, thanks but no thanks. It's your generation that led us into our second depression in 20 years. It's your generation that has left us with a $17 trillion national debt. You invented sub-prime loans, decimated social security to the point we won't be able to collect a dime unless we live to be 100 years old, and on a local note: you managed to push nearly every major brewery in MKE out of MKE (Pabst, Schlitz, Blatz, etc). I think your right about recreating the wheel, we don't need to do that. We need to think bigger than that and create something better than the wheel. To do that we need to be aware of our history to avoid the same mistakes, but also make our own history and our own mistakes w/o the previous generation badgering us along the way. So Dave, thanks for the offer of advice, but we don't need it. We've got it from here.
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