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Notions of Main Street, the American Road, and hometown neighborhoods have long had a powerful hold on our notions of self.

It was still only recently that Main Street became a powerful symbol to us all – a counterpoint to the excesses on Wall Street. Unlike the symbol of capitalism in New York’s financial district, Main Street was thought of as democratic – something that we all shared – a common space and public space as opposed to the private – a place and space protective, secretive and that keeps us apart and separate.

This “Main Street” is a place. But it is also an idea – a state of mind – where people came together for chance meetings, a place for shopping, for planned civic meetings and a place for parades and festivals.

BTW, when we speak of Main Street, we also speak of the American (Canadian) road, small town life, and a hometown neighborhood – those places that we together consider important.
So, when we say Main Street we do not just mean Main Street.

There is not just one Main Street. There are many and they vary greatly from place to place. But they all help inform the larger meaning of Main Street and the place it occupies as a cultural icon in our society.

This issue of Main Street as a unifier is significant, as we continue to see our society fragment into niches, lacking cohesion, whether it relates to our interests or politics.

It is a question we will be looking at in postings to come.

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