On topics and today's gnus. Definitely opinionated. Set to 18+ for a reason.
2008, November 1
The Herald Journal out of Logan, Utah had a "Bloggers' challenge: Explain the Utah political landscape."
This was an enlightening well thought out and written response:
DarkHorseDown wrote on Oct 28, 2008 11:01 AM:
" Utah offers a great glimpse into the dynamics of isolated groups on the political landscape. Insular groups define strength in terms of the consistency of their views and put a high value on unity. Political ideology in groups that have been founded by a single religion usually develop narrowly defined views that have been clearly defined by elders and that are refined over time by leaders. This cultivates a depth to values that have been socially sanctioned and which are passed along by social pressure to conform. There is a sense of safety and protection in belonging to such groups. They have your back. You have theirs. The flip side, of course, is that new ideas may take longer to be accepted, and that minority views are held in less regard.
There is some danger to believing that your views are uniquely good, transcend other views out there, and are approved by the highest power in the Universe. Although this may work well in Church it rarely leads to good things when applied to government. Witness conflict around the world as evidence that when moral imperatives are declared, bloodshed often follows.
Letting new and conflicting ideas into the landscape is often met with fear and seen as threatening. Yet for groups to survive, they must be fortified by new ideas that move us forward. Groups do not do well when constrained by stagnation or limited in thought. That is because times change, views of people change, and incorporating new ways of thinking about things adds value to us all.
Welcoming societies are open to many points of view and are not threatened by those who are different. Diversity and innovation do not mean the death of the majority culture but its revival. Being prepared to step into the ever shrinking global community and make a difference also assumes you enter that community with a willingness to learn, not just teach. It assumes creativity and active problem solving is conducted with the attitude that all can bring value to the table.
Utah is suffering growing pains from pressures to remain the same amidst changing times. I, for one, am rooting for the wisdom that comes from knowing what to keep, what to change, and what to throw away. In a place called Utah, that change comes slower than most. "
We are an Island Kingdom, too
I would state that even communities that are so-called diverse, like Lawrence, Kansas and Missoula, Montana, suffer from this too. Especially Missoula. We are an Island Kingdom. Cut off by mountains and geographically distant from major cities, it is easy is wallow in the womb. Add a university and there is always the danger of becoming elitist.
Fortunately, folks do move in from elsewhere and bring their culture and beliefs with them. Still, locals are blind to long-standing issues of local poverty or discrimination. Blind that "Liberal" can become an empty label as frightening and fundamental as "Christian Conservative". After-all, could Palin live here? She could probably manage the boys that make up the Missoula Maulers, our local hockey team; but, would she be accepted as "one of us"?
I ask this as it is important to realize in an "embracing new ideas" type of town, that we must not become as stiff about who we associate with and consider our friends. To do otherwise would make us susceptible to spewing comments like "she's not one of us" or further isolating and denigrating the very people who would do that to us.