Sometimes there's nothing better than
a fresh perspective. As a non-native
of Lewistown, Montana I'm still a bit
enamored with all that it has to offer.
I'm equally frustrated with my fellow
resident's unwillingness to make it
any better. Honestly said malaise is
rather infectious. Hence it's more
than helpful to see our town through
someone else's eyes. Last week dear
friends visited from afar and only
saw potential. Are we locals blind
or deep within a coma of malaise?
I've come to the conclusion that some
virulent pestilence has slowly infected
most denizens of our fair community.
Otherwise such a cancerous confusion
couldn't possibly flourish like it does
here in Lewistown. We're stuck in a
schism that only grows deeper. Sadly
I think both sides only have the best of
intentions. Unfortunately their collective
inability to change the unnatural course
of events seems to be slowly killing this
place that we all call home. So why are
we sitting back and letting that happen?
Last week our paper profiled the
billionaire Wilks family. They've
deemed Central Montana worthy
enough to purchase three hundred
thousand acres. A family patriarch
outlined the reasons he considered
Lewistown one of the best places
on earth. In fact, he indicated that
he was in it for the long haul and
hence was willing to get involved.
Yet many folks who've lived here
all their lives have almost nothing
good to say about our community.
Honestly, what is wrong with you
people?! Do you look out of your
windows and not see the mountains
that surround us on all sides? Have
you never drunk a cold glass of pure
water straight from your tap? Or not
breathed in that fresh, low humidity
air? Frankly if we've any problems
at all it's not a lack of natural beauty.
Rather it's a collective lack of pride,
ambition, and foresight. Otherwise
why would everyone simply opt to
give up what others gave us freely?
There is no free ride. Somehow we've
forgotten how hard it was to build and
maintain a thriving community. Yet
that's exactly what our city founders
did. Most of us are old enough to know
how to play nice. Yet after viewing all
of the politics, mayhem, and derision
the younger folks either leave town or
stay out of it. Thus as our restaurants
and shops fail they're cooking gourmet
meals at home. Raising their kids. And
shopping on Etsy. So who is going to
clean up our mess before it's too late?
The majority of positive change within
the last twenty years here in Lewistown
has been driven by newcomers or those
returning to the fold. Rarely those who
stayed put. Each and every change or
investment was fought and vehemently
criticized by said do nothings. Hence
unless another idiot from far beyond
arrives in town - nothing new is going
to happen any time soon. The fact is
we've collectively lost it. And unless
we get our act together quickly, there
just might not be nothing left...
Time and time again we hear tales of
resistance to change. Yet Frank and I
have never experienced any pushback.
The entire community has been very
supportive if our restoration efforts.
Not a day goes by that some stranger
doesn't compliment our progress. So
is our problem primarily downtown?
When will we ALL realize that apathy,
myopia, and just plain laziness aren't
doing any of us good. Old, young, or
in-between, it's time to step up and do
something, anything. But what?!