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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Political Life in Greeley Colorado

Father forgive me for I have sinned.

I think that is how it goes, right? The only Catholic in the family (and I love her dearly for she reads my blog religiously) married in so I apologize if I have breached etiquette.

I said I would never again post a comment as a reader to the Tribune. Unfortunately there just are not many alternative places to get local homegrown news in this town. And, admittedly, I get sucked into the neurotic and wild ranging viewpoints posted about topics like education and economic development issues.

Humans are such interesting life forms. They remind me of the beautiful sea anemones I used to see while walking the beach. They cling precariously to the rocks fearful of that big storm that will come and try to push them out to sea while waving their tendrils about furiously as if they are in complete control. At first they all look the same. Little plasmid soldiers all gathered together to fend off the world. But if you get down and start looking more closely you begin to see the signs of uniqueness in each one. Each sponge has worn spots and chunks missing from its journey through life. Each one is a different size a bit different shape. Each one has a unique story to tell.

Greeley is fascinating in the same way. I have learned new ways of visioning ideas and concepts since I've landed here.

Originally I lumped conservative thinking into one broad category--keeping government minimal and competition stoked regardless if the system that this mindset produces works or not. But this never made a lot of sense to me. For one I look at the government for infrastructure and as a referee. If you have a lot of players in a game you need a ratio of referees to players. So if you get more players, and then more, and then more players again, eventually you need more referees to keep watch. And once the game becomes massively huge you need a whole new strategy for how to manage the game. Which is the point I think America is at right now.

But if you argue that government has no place in that game or needs to continually be cut--well that doesn't work in my view. What always puzzled me is that I have a great many friends and teachers who have been conservatives calling for less government and they have amazing minds and depth of intelligence. Pieces to my puzzle were obviously missing. I like to understand as many viewpoints as possible because it helps me to derive better solutions.

I think I've found some of those here in Greeley. By comparing the systems that have developed here, and driving around (and around and around and around--lost) I began putting what I could see in front of my eyes into context with the people I have met here and discussed things with. It has dawned on me, clearly, there are distinctions within the anti-government folk that come from an ideological base I had never quite fathomed. Call it development of a complexity of a nuance if you wish.

I often speak about systems in the context of human happiness and what the point of life is all about. To do this I like to describe the context in the most primitive of states--before society forms. The Clan of the Cave Bear type outlook. What motivation did these people face every morning when they woke up in their cave? Why go outside? The answer of course is to survive. To experience being human. And, ultimately, to find ways of making it easier to survive and the odds better. And so on, and so on.

Many times I thought back to how we have added in functions and systems since the beginning in the name of survival. Although lately I think in the name of happiness and establishing that one person is better than the other might be more appropriate.

I've always thought the big picture idea was to create an infrastructure for systems which would lead to the greatest quality of life for the most people. To me that requires people having their survival needs met. Clean water, some sort of shelter, basic foodstuff, transportation, and health care are all included in this package. Then comes education. Education fits in here because it serves both the individual's growth and society's need for survival. This is why I pay taxes to the government. I can't provide these things nearly as well as an individual because I can't get the economy of scale that I can in a group. Hence I see government's responsibility not as a parental figure but as one of mediator, the referee between powerful individuals and not so powerful individuals--between systems and the individual, and to create economies of scale that are in the interest of all people. Hence infrastructure.

Of course this idea is people centric. Humanistic in origins. I believe we should take care of each other rather than try to kill each other... imagine that. If that makes me a liberal then I'll wear the lick-it-and-stick-it label proudly.

But now I live in a community where most people don't see the world from this viewpoint. I mean it isn't like I dropped in from Mars or something. I just moved from another state. And I really like the people here. So it has become a current intrigue for me to sort out the various perspectives I am now surrounded by.

And it ain't easy being green, let me tell ya.

I get it that people don't like government and don't want the nose of government meddling in individual lives. They would rather duke it out with their neighbors than have government mediate things. Like land zoning for instance. Why should government be able to tell someone if they can or can't build on land they own? From an individual perspective it is interference. It is a feeling that robs an individual of a sense of being free as a human to live as they choose. Yet from a tribal perspective we all have to live together and that means you have to also act in the interest of the group.

Although I may not be expressing my new found perspective on this viewpoint well it certainly makes much more sense to me than my previous state of confusion. It explains, at least for now until I get new information, how a town can be quite happy not having integrated planning and systems that work well. The freedom of the personal decision making and lack of government intervention simply has more value for the greater number of persons living, and voting, around here.

While I think that this strategy in the short run makes sense, and it would still make sense if the town didn't grow at all and new people weren't added, in the long term this strategy doesn't work for modern times.

When I read the crazy wing-nut posts about various topics discussed in the local news I tend to think "fanatic" less and less. Instead I see people who are scared and frightened and feeling out of control that their world is changing more rapidly than they ever imagined it could. New feelings, new ideas, and new systems are forcing their way in while the magical ideological lifestyle some would choose gets more remote and distant every day.

I am not sure this is how the West was won but I am pretty sure that this is how the West will be changed. I guess the only win/win to be had will be to find a way to express that fondness for independence and freedom from rules, regulation, and the taxes that come with them--while creating an infrastructure that works for the most people, the environment, and the generations to come.

Of course that, the above statement, is not a solution it is just a reiteration of the problem most who live in this community are probably already aware of--whether conscious of it or not.

Comments :

2 comments to “Political Life in Greeley Colorado”

mowdy5gs said...

Hello Jane. Good to write with you once again. lol. I can say that I have kept my word of never again gracing the pages of the crooks who call themselves journalists. I do however have a friend that does and I will admit to asking him to throw a few ideas in thier. He owes me. It is truly a miscarrage we have not yet crossed paths as I am handsome as all get out lol. But seriously folks Im here all night. The truth is concearning people and fear they are lead to be as such. The people they choose to listen to bradish ideas as weapons of fear rather then what they are, ideas. They instill fear due to power and there need to hold on to it. There need for political clought drives them to no end and it is disturbing the effect it has as fear is a powerful tool but that is all it is. I was raised to belive this to be the land of the free and the home of the brave yet Americans have becomae the biggest pussys when it comes to un-truths. Rumors is what they are yet they are taken as fact and that is more then sad it is the "pussyfacation" of the once great American spirit. We were always meant to be fighters and brave souls, not meant to cower at ideas and cringe at the sight of thought yet here we stand. Two wrongs do not make right, you shouldnt use a wrong to justify another wrong yet politicians and people on the trib do so on a regular basis and it is nothing more then childsplay. I see riacism ratchiting up daily as per the posts on the trib just over the last two days. What also displays this to be correct is the outburst by the loony congrossmen calling Mr. Obama a racist on the house floor during his address and it was because? You guessed it. Illegal immigration. America needs help I'll give you that but to say fear is not being perveyed by those with a stake in the fight is not true. A war is being waged on people of this country by people of this country that is usually reserved for foreign enemys. They are relentless and I honestly believe most would rather see the opposition destroyed, wiped from the map then to coexist. I am married to a black woman and I myself am native american and irsh so I know what goes on here in Greeley everyday when we walk out the door. I do not take lightly the word racist but I know one when I see one. I also lived in the south for years togeather with my wife and understand the subtle underhanded racisim that is shown as well and it is prodominant in this town. Many may choose to ignore it or deny that there fellow citizens do this but they do and it is undeniable. So how have you been hun?

Jane Paudaux said...

Hi Mowdy, good to see you posting again! I've been fine. Good to see you are still writing in fine mettle as well. In my world Mowdy it all comes back to a good well rounded education. There has been a strong push to gut public education for some of the same reasons public health care is be opposed. Mostly these philosophical and ideological arguments serve the interests of the well-to-do because it takes out the competition their children face from a well educated public for higher paying jobs and prestige in our society. It keeps the elite, elite, and keeps the working class, working class. What troubles me is when the working class buys into the whole game thinking it is in their interest to ALWAYS demand lower taxes or to ALWAYS demand government stay out of their lives. Government has a place and it should be carefully monitored--but allowed to occupy that place. I have to wonder if many of these people, especially the tea baggers, had a more well rounded education to draw upon if either their viewpoint would be a bit different or at least their arguments would be more rational, well researched, and logical.

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