My Love/Hate with Boulder, Colorado
Before I begin, let me apologize to two groups of people. First, to my many good friends who are residents of Boulder. I apologize in advance for taking pot shots at your quaint and happy little hippy enclave, one of the last remaining bastions of liberalism amid a current of self-serving conservative propaganda being spewed by the right. You know I genuinely adore the focus on local entrepreneurship, the progressive ideology and the educated and creative vibe that define Boulder. I really do. But the folks I know in Boulder can vouch more than anyone else I know that what I am about to say is true.
Second, let me apologize to those of you living outside of the great state of Colorado for whom this may seem a regional piece of writing that lacks national pertinency. While I understand the sentiment, let me assure you that even though Boulder is a quintessential example of the type of liberal hypocrisy I am set to describe, it is far from the only one. Everywhere has their Boulder. For California, it’s San Fransisco. For Connecticut, it’s West Hartford. And for Vermont, well, it’s pretty much the whole damn state. Shit, even Texas has Austin. Yes, left unchecked, liberal proselytizing can rear its ugly head just about anywhere (ok, except for Mississippi- that place is just plain fucked in the head).
As a liberal, I love Boulder. I love driving in on Broadway to see political signs from Republicans and chuckling at myself that these candidates have a better chance of convincing one of the many local lesbians to lick peanut butter from their scrotum than they do of actually getting this populace to elect them to any public office of consequence. I love that Boulder is home to Jared Polis, a personal friend and proudly the first gay man to be elected to his first term of Congress as an openly gay individual. I love that so many of the businesses are locally owned and operated and the residents of this town are seriously conscious about the environmental and political impact of their consumerism. And I love that nobody gives a flying fuck who is or is not smoking weed on their own free time.
But I must admit here and now, I like my hippies dirty.
You know, the real hippies, who don’t shower and who dance aimlessly but joyfully to the jam band they have coursing through the airwaves in their own mind. Because these hippies don’t preach. They love and accept without proselytizing and Boulderites could learn a thing or two from them if they ever find time to listen between their scheduled spiritual cleansings.
Take my dear friends Keith and Heather who own an organics products store and wellness center near Conifer, CO in the foothills outside of Denver. They may smell a bit of patchouli and their kids’ hair may have the appearance of scattered bird’s nests, but they live life to their own soundtrack and do not expect others to dance to it as well. They live a life founded in love, connection, contentment and integrity, but they don’t feel some need to impose it on others. Instead they embrace all with a sense of acceptance and appreciation.
What pisses people off about Boulder is the sanctimonious sense of judgment that seems to accompany the do-gooding of most Boulderites. Of course, we should all recycle, but you don’t need to go thumbing your nose at someone else’s ignorance. Educate them. Yes, we should all respect the rights of minorities and those with alternatives lifestyles, but isn’t your liberal view supposed to protect the right of others to maintain a different point from you? Isn’t accepting different mindsets what is supposed to set progressives apart from the troglodytes on the other side who feel the need to batter their truth over the weak-minded who struggle to think for themselves? If the liberal agenda you espouse has inherent truth, share your ideas and let others form their own opinions. Have some faith that with continued education and discussion, eventually, even the dumb asses will come along for the ride.
C.S. Lewis famously suggested that integrity was doing the right thing even when no one was watching. I love what you got going on, Boulder, but do you have to get up in everyone’s grill about it? Why not just do your own thing and let everyone else be? Yes, we are all in this together, and the interconnected nature of all things means that the behaviors of one impacts all, but we are only going to get the ball rolling by enlightening others and getting them to buy into putting their back into rolling it with us, not by shaming them into obsequious adherence. C’mon, you’re better than that, Boulder.
I know watching some knuckle dragger throwing out their disposable water bottle is maddening as hell and that it’s easy to get up on your soapbox and shake your fist at them with utter condemnation. Why do you think I write an opinion blog? But let’s leave the proselytizing to the preachers and allow our own personal integrity to be a role model to others rather than some inherent moral obligation.
Then you can be real dirty hippies too.
Steven Craig is the author of the best-selling novel WAITING FOR TODAY, as well as numerous published poems, short stories, and dramatic works. Read his blog TRUTH: in 1000 words or less every TUESDAY and FRIDAY at www.waitingfortoday.com