For the last two days, much of the news coverage and conversations around break rooms has centered on the recent election and its surprising results. Along with shock and awe, pundits continue to analyze how this surprising result occurred. Who were these voters who voted for Donald Trump? How did geography play a part?
Pundits hover around maps dotted with splotches of red and blue, explaining how different counties and different states, even different parts of states voted for Trump or Hillary. The general consensus is that rural voters are strongly Republican, and urban or city voters vote Democratic.
But I’m here to tell you in our tiny town of Nederland, we break with the odds. We live in a rustic log cabin off a private dirt road. Most people chop a lot of wood, and drive dirty, beat up Subarus. Some have guns, some do not. But while we are rural, we do not spew hate speech, we don’t ban people from living in our town no matter their ethnic background, we don’t want to do away with government, and we most definitely did not vote for Donald Trump in great numbers.
Nederland defies the template of small town America and rural America. We’re not looking to climb on the backs of our neighbors to get more money in our pockets. We don’t hate the government, we see the value of government when we all work together to collectively help ourselves. When one of our neighbors loses their house to a fire, the rest of us step in to see how we can help.
You could almost accuse Nederland of (shhhhhh, it’s that dirty word) being socialistic. You know that terrible thing they call redistributing the wealth. Oh my God — why would you want to take money out of your pocket to help your neighbors, or those who are less fortunate? The sky is falling.
Several years ago, we actually passed a property tax increase of a small amount, just so everyone who lives here (even those who don’t own homes) could be provided an RTD Ecopass. The Ecopass is the public transit yearly pass that allows you to ride all the RTD public buses and light rail in the Denver-Boulder area, including the famous N bus that goes between Boulder and Denver. The sum cost for Bryon and me — an increase of around $50 per year.
Here’s another scary thing — we actually use town money to put on (SHHHH!!!) a Community Thanksgiving Dinner at our Community Center. It’s sort of a pot luck thing where folks from the local community bring in side dishes while the turkey, stuffing and potatoes are provided. Then we sit next to our neighbors, talk with each other, offer solace and companionship as a way to express gratitude for where we live.
I know this is a foreign concept to most conservatives — this idea of a community trying to create the greatest common good for the greatest number of people. They are too caught up in pursuing the all American dream of destroying your neighbors or co-workers so that you can be the kid with all the toys and money at the end, no matter the cost to everyone else.
But guess what, we’re the ones smiling at the end of the day….