In the compartmentalized lifestyle of the city, it's easy to let someone else do part of your thinking for you. For example, water along the front range of the Rockies in Colorado is a big issue with the tremendous growth the area is experiencing. Folks can read about the issue in the local papers, listen to talk radio about the subject, and even take adult education classes on the topic. Unfortunately, most city folk get their news and information spoon fed to them. The kids seemed chained to their Play Station video games, while their parents are in another room watching Brian Williams on the evening news. Newspaper readership is down, TV viewing is up, and few people are concerned about water issues, or much else for that matter outside their compartmentalized lives...somebody will take care of the problem for them...it's been that way in the city for a long time right?
As we anxiously await the finalization of our purchase of the farm, we've spent a fair amount of time learning more about local issues that impact the area, and WOW, you have some biggies around here. Water, ethanol, the economy, and taxes... OH My!
Being informed and involved with community matters is important. But right now, we're at the start of the learning curve and the opposing views on the things that matter to southwestern Nebraska are pretty far apart from an outsiders point of view.
Here's an example... It's obvious to me that ethanol and local economies are going to be tied together for the foreseeable future. I've also read some horror stories about water use, production, storage, and fire associated with ethanol production. I can tell this is a divisive issue, but guess what? For the first time in a long time, I feel like I can straddle the fence on the issues.
I don't know where the fence straddling analogy came from, but many politicians get accused of riding fences, and that's usually a bad thing. By not taking a fixed position, some politicians (none in southwestern Nebraska I'm sure) hope to avoid alienating their constituents and therefore get, or stay elected to public office.
Now politics is something I'll do my best to avoid, but when it comes to southwestern Nebraska issues, I'll be sitting on the fence for awhile too. My excuse though is that I'm so uninformed that I don't know what I don't know...yet.