If you follow me on Twitter (if not, you should) – @mike_moroski, or are my Facebook Friend, you see that I say, “Unity Assists” a lot.
Cincinnati, like all cities in the United States, has a City Flag. In 1895, the design won a contest for best flag, but was not officially adopted until 1940.
So what’s on the flag?
- A big, red “C” – for “Cincinnati.”
- Three wavy, blue lines – for the Ohio River.
- A winged rod signifying “commerce.”
- Serpents signifying “wisdom.”
- A sword signifying “authority” & “power.”
- Scales signifying “justice.”
- And two Latin words – “Juncta Juvant.”
“Juncta” means “to join.” “Juvant” means “to help or assist.” Loosely, the phrase translates to mean “strength in numbers.” Literally, it translates as “Unity Assists.”
I have always been inspired by the fact that the two words our founding fathers and mothers chose to put on our flag were “Unity Assists.” If it was good enough in 1895, why shouldn’t it be good enough now?
There is so much potential in Cincinnati – from social services providing quality care to the indigent, to redevelopment corporations reinvesting in the city core. However, from my vantage point, the biggest gap falls between the two working together.
It seems to me that all of the players in Cincinnati have the same agenda – to make the city better. Yet, they all have different methods that they feel are the right ones to use to achieve the goals of said agenda. 3CDC, the Homeless Coalition, Procter & Gamble, the Drop Inn Center – all of these organizations seem disparate in their appearance, but they are not. They all are trying to move forward. That is the one commonality. And they all need to work together so that those in our city who need the most guidance – namely the downtrodden and the youth – can succeed.
As we sit around in board rooms and conference tables arguing about ideology, there are people in our city suffering. Unity Assists is lost. And it needs to come back. Social services need to consolidate and work together to do the work no one else wants to do effectively – the work that makes REAL change. Big business needs tax incentives to move into the city or stay in the city. Has anyone thought long and hard about what would happen in P & G moved to Europe? Lastly, the city needs to figure out the pension issue. First, they need to begin talking about it publicly. Years of politicians deferring responsibility to the current council has left the city in a bind. What’s worse is that the indifference of years’ past has left city employees high and dry – and these are the people that make our day to day routines possible, and without whom we would be lost. I have a lot of love for our current 9 council members, and know that the issues they face are inherited issues that necessitate really tough decisions.
I am not about ideology. Ideology never fed a child, never created policy and never moved anything forward. Only actions do those things. And only actions that abide by the two simple words on our city’s flag are effective in the long run. We gotta come together. We gotta find a solution. And we gotta do it soon.