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Thursday, December 25, 2014  |   Madison, WI: 41.0° F  
CITIZEN DAVE: Thoughts and ideas about city building from Madison's former mayor
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Citizen Dave: Winter, finally and not a moment too soon
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The tundra is frozen for a reason.

I think less of people who winter in Florida.

I think less of people who spend their winters in Arizona or the Bahamas or, for that matter, in any climate in which you can sit beside a pool in January and consider actually using that pool.

One reason I don't like these people is that many of them use the word "winter" as a verb as in, "Buffy and I winter in Naples." You imagine these people, if they are men, wearing an ascot and loafers with long pants and no sox and being overly concerned with their hair. Well, yes, now that you mention it, I imagine Mitt Romney using winter as a verb.

Let me stop right here and come clean. I did go to Miami Beach once in February, but I didn't "winter" there; I long weekended there. Which is a sin, but not the mortal sin of full wintering in a place like that.

Sometimes some of these wintering Wisconsinites even say that they love Wisconsin but hate its winters. This is like saying that you love jazz but hate Miles Davis. It's like saying that you love the Packers but hate Vince Lombardi.

We are defined by cold. Cold makes us strong. Cold builds character. Cold stiffens the spine and the upper lip. The tundra is frozen for a reason. The Ice Bowl could not have been played in Dallas. It would have been just another football game. Played in Wisconsin on New Year's Eve it is legend.

This is why this wimpy winter has been so distressing. It's like we're "wintering" right here in Wisconsin. It's like we didn't have to go anywhere to become soft and spoiled.

And that's why I welcome today's weather. Temperatures falling throughout the day. Howling winds. Snow in the air. Multiple inches of snow on the ground. This is what makes us the people we say we are.

Fifty degrees in January is just wrong. That is South Carolina weather. Perfectly nice people down there, but South Carolina is where Rick Perry went because he thought people would like a guy who carried a gun while jogging and couldn't remember how many justices there are on the Supreme Court. Do you want to end up like that? I didn't think so. It's cold that makes us remember our basic civics lessons and, concealed carry not withstanding, jog without carrying heat.

It's no accident that most progressive states are winter states. Too much warm weather makes you think that life is easy and anybody can make it if they put out just a little effort. Winter people understand that life is hard and unforgiving and we need each other to huddle together so that we don't freeze to death. This attitude makes us have a hard time choosing between George McGovern and Hubert Humphrey.

Trust no white person who shows up with a tan in March. By St. Patrick's Day a pure heart and true character is measured in shades of pallor.

So celebrate the snow. Welcome the winds. Cherish the chill. Winter is not for the weak, the faint of heart, or the Baptists.

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