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#OnPointListens: Seeing The Real Milwaukee

On Point host Tom Ashbrook, on location at the Milwaukee Art Museum for the fourth stop on our National Listening Tour. (Tania Ralli/WBUR)MoreCloseclosemore
On Point host Tom Ashbrook, on location at the Milwaukee Art Museum for the fourth stop on our National Listening Tour. (Tania Ralli/WBUR)

American cities take some probing to understand these days. Milwaukee looks great on the lakefront. Lake Michigan. Glossy condos. Great festivals. Good times. But look deeper and there are real problems of poverty, racial segregation and distress here. We’ve been in Milwaukee on our National Listening Tour this week, and once again we’ve been overwhelmed by the warm reception and hospitality of public radio listeners and more. So many open arms and hearts and minds here. But Milwaukeeans want answers, too. They’re game for a conversation that pulls in perspectives from around the country. In their challenges, they are not alone and they know it. Here’s one mounting takeaway from our listening tour so far: Americans want far-reaching thinking about our circumstances now. Yes, there’s an urge among some to “go back” to good old days. But there is also a hunger to see the world afresh, as it really is now, and find solutions – even if those mean very new ways – to the problems we confront. The message I’m hearing from Milwaukee and beyond is, let’s do what it takes to move forward. Now, if we can just figure out what that is! -- Tom Ashbrook

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