I would like to respond to Roger C. Brown's comment in a recent issue (HCN, 5/30/94) that, "(Rural Westerners) may joke about (urban migrants') lifestyles, but they do not threaten us. On the other hand we, in our condescending and sometimes ill-informed arrogance, have made very concerted efforts to destroy them in the name of "reform." "
I wonder if Andy Kerr, who was recently harassed when he moved to the eastern Oregon town of Joseph, believes those amiable Western country folk pose no threat? As a former newspaper reporter in a small Oregon timber town, I can personally attest otherwise. I was smoked out as a liberal tree-hugger sympathizer, and given a very icy shoulder by some people in that town. All below-board, of course, though the threat of violence is real. And tell me, if the rural West is so unthreatening, why does it produce such Neanderthal, rabid-dog politicians as Larry Craig and Alan Simpson?
I tell you what I want to destroy in the name of reform, and it's the attitude that the West belongs to the people who've happened to be in the right place in the right century, who have made money off the West's resources and believe they have some kind of birthright to keep the pillage-profits flowing. If that's perceived as a concerted effort to end a way of life, then excuse me, but change is what life is all about, pardner. Mr. Brown looks back in fondness for what was in the West, and if the last grizzly bears weren't so busy trying to survive I bet they'd look back fondly on the days of yore also, before those unthreatening rural Westerners shot their species to near-extinction.
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- Delaine Spilsbury on The water czar who reshaped Colorado River politics