I don’t know what the perception of a Townie is for you, but I always took it as a pejorative. It was those cranky, old white people who complain that the University of Michigan is ruining the town. They find fault with this generation or that one, complain about ‘tall’ buildings, are nostalgic for a ‘small town’ ideal that never existed, show disdain for changes in ‘their’ city, and can barely stand the students destroying their holy neighborhood character.
It’s not a good take.
Now I’ve crossed that threshold. I have lived in and around Ann Arbor for 20+ years. Supposedly, it is my turn to pick up the Townie mantle, and start disparaging all those things that have caused Ann Arbor to go to shit since 1996, when I first arrived.
I agree with my fictional Townie on one point: Ann Arbor can be better; not by yearning for the past, but by working for a better future. Not by being disdainful to change, but to help shape the change with progressive values.
Ann Arbor desires to be a welcoming, progressive place. In many ways we are, but in many more ways, we can be better.