Because I believe Sarasota County is a great county, deserving national recognition, I dutifully clicked in a manner that indicated I "liked" a YouTube video "Sarasota Transcends", which should translate into another vote in a campaign to have Sarasota County declared the 2013 All American City (I know - it's not a City) by the National Civic League.
But I did not click with enthusiasm. If you haven't seen the less-than-four-minute YouTube video you probably should (and "like" it if you feel compelled).
Here's what I like about it: It contains some history, and gives a nod to community diversity by featuring the North Library and the Embracing Our Differences exhibit.
That is not a very long list.
Because it is, of necessity, a booster type of production, I concede that it would have been inappropriate to point out the Scots were victims of the first local land scam. I'm okay with that Pollyanna perspective as well as touching base with the Ringlings while skipping Mrs. Palmer. And featuring our arts scene is natural, even if claiming to be the "arts and cultural capital of the south" is a little ambitious.
The video then proudly embraces (we do a lot of embracing around here) the fact that we are the "oldest large county in the nation" and gets a plug in for the Institute of the Ages. That's cool.
Unfortunately, virtually all the accompanying footage depicts seniors engaged in activities that could have been filmed anywhere in the US. That is a disappointment because our seniors are doing amazing things-- citizen science, serving on advisory boards, helping young entrepreneurs, working in the FABLAB, and volunteering like crazy. At least there were no bingo scenes.
|While I hope to be dancing at their age, I'm not sure this image adequately conveys the vibrancy of our seniors.|
We're now more than halfway through the video and so far there has been no mention of:
• our transcendent schools - PineView, New College, and Ringling College
• our transcendent 35 miles of Gulf shoreline (even if it is not all beach), Siesta Beach, and our bays
• our transcendent wildlife -- sea turtles, scrub jays, manatees, alligators, etc.
• our transcendent Legacy Trail, Water Atlas, or Florida Yards Program
• our transcendent Mote Marine Lab, Ringling Museum, and Selby Gardens
• our transcendent Myakka River and Oscar Scherer State Parks and the more than 30% of the County preserved
But instead of shoehorning fifteen seconds of each of these arguably essential features, the video cuts to the Unconditional Surrender statue (which I have mixed feelings about) on the way to a 51 second tribute to our National Cemetery, a segment which takes up one fifth of the entire video!
My father, who served in Australia with MacArthur (and became a friend of his family,) would be turning over in his grave, if he hadn't been cremated. He believed veteran-related dollars should be spent on the living veterans. The cemetery segment includes testimony from one individual who states: "I don't know that there is a more special place in Sarasota than the Sarasota National Cemetery."
Really? No place more special? There may be no more poignant place, or no more moving place, or even no more inspiring place, but I'm having trouble signing up for the proposition that the most special place in our county is a cemetery.
No doubt the gentlemen shown in the video believes that and it entitled to his devotion and opinion --(It is always a mistake to try to contradict someone's feelings.) But due to the nature of the brief film, he has to be assumed to be speaking for multitudes. I confess it never occurred to me that there is some sort of unspoken general consensus that one fifth of what makes Sarasota County special might be a cemetery.
Whether or not Sarasota County becomes this year's All American City, I hope the curiosity of those who view the video will be piqued, and they will be inspired to visit where they will find there is so much more than what was promised.