Gville can!

Published: Sunday, January 1, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, December 31, 2011 at 4:58 p.m.

Happy New Year, Gville. Is this a great town or what?

Seriously, though. I’ve never liked the name Gainesville. How we got tagged with the handle of an obscure general who was supposed to put down the Seminoles (and couldn’t) is a dreary tale not worth retelling.

Listen, Gaines wouldn’t have lasted five minutes as Gator football coach with his record against the ’Noles.

So my personal resolution for 2012 is to start calling our fair city simply, Gville.

Punchy, edgy and pregnant with inference.

Gville! Genius!

Gaines, you know, was the original “I’m from Washington and I’m here to help” guy.

And the way things are going, I don’t think D.C. is going to be of much help to us in 2012 either. Neither will Tallahassee.

Between a $1.2 trillion national debt and a $2 billion state revenue shortfall, we can pretty much count on goose eggs from on high.

So here’s a suggested rallying cry for 2012: “Gville can!”

Gville can live on its own creative energy.

Gville can prosper on its flair for innovation.

Gville can thrive on its passion for culture, quality of life and sustainability.

Thus, in 2012 this “company town” (the “company” being government) must resolve to stand on its own merit.

We’ve got the intellectual capital to do it, if we have the will.

If we have the will, we can fashion the mother of all job incubators with IG and UF’s Innovation Square.

If we have the will, we can reinvent local government and make it smaller, less redundant and more responsive.

If we have the will, we can make up for state and federal budget cuts by marketing ourselves to the world as one of America’s premier

creative-class cities.

If we have the will, we can be leaders, not followers, in sustainability, renewable energy and conservation.

If we have the will, we have the collective brain power to make this city truly great.

“Great cities are not static, they constantly change and take the world along with them.” Edward Glaeser writes in his new book, “Triumph of the City.”

Let’s take the world for a ride, Gville. Let’s be great.

We used to be a railroad town, but no more. Once we sold citrus, until the trees froze. And we made it on phosphate, and then tung oil long before the University of Florida came along and turned us into something completely new and different.

But ideas don’t freeze. Creativity doesn’t exhaust itself like a mineral deposit.

Way back in 1925, one of my predecessors here at The Sun advised his readers that the looming Great Depression “might much better be faced cheerfully and preparingly now than wildly and despairingly later.”

Four generations later, allow me to repackage that advice for our ever-changing, ever-turbulent times.

Let’s face the new year both cheerfully and wildly, but without despair. Let’s grab on with both hands and refuse to let go.

Because Gville can.

Happy New Year, Gville.

I love this town.

Ron Cunningham is editorial page editor. Contact him at voice@gvillesun.com or 374-5075. Read his blog at www.gainesville.com/opinion.

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