Walk the walk
Yesterday I strolled up Main Street. The core
of Lewistown, it's lined with historic buildings.
The majority of which are now being revived,
reinvented, and if nothing else reconsidered.
On one end our new creekside park is almost
complete. Next door the brewery is thriving.
Across First, a new cafe opens soon. Further
down the restored Powers Mercantile is about
to become a major tourist center. Across the
street an empty Chokecherry Lane will soon
be home to an expanded local health clinic.
A block up two floors of renovated apartments
are fully rented. Good seems to be happening.
As I basked in all of this forward momentum
I suddenly stopped dead in my tracks. Glossy
graphics mounted on the windows of the new
American Prairie Reserve headquarters had
been vandalized. "Keyed" across their entire
expanse. The very sight caused me to recoil
in disbelief and to utter "IN MY TOWN?!"
How could something so purposefully nasty
happen in a place I once considered kinder
and gentler? Are we now so disenfranchised
that it's necessary to damage private property?
And if so what's next? Should those who opt
to disagree go back where we came from?
Save us from ourselves?
Recently I spoke to a community leader about
the great divide in Fergus County. Sadly some
are taking drastic measures to get their point
across. Threatening to boycott or punish those
who don't do their bidding. Causing some local
business leaders - who historically played key
roles in our renaissance to consider opting out.
Rather than risk repercussions. As others sit
back in silence. Afraid to take a stand on either
side of the equation. So they stay close to home
rather than be seen dining, drinking, or chatting
at the "wrong" place, at the "wrong" time, with
the "wrong" folks. Is that the cowboy way?
All or nothing at all?
In isolated circumstances such as ours, myopia
is to be expected. However if theoretical fears
of a few threaten the future of us all, potential
is limited at best. Nobody wants to lose. Nor do
any of us have to. The fact is we can all coexist
within our ever-changing community. Evolution
is if nothing else a gradual process. One which
requires that we all adapt in our own way. While
others might have us believe - it doesn't have to
be all or nothing at all. Rather, like those who
founded our community we can work together
to forge a path that benefits all. That's how we
build our future. One step forward at a time...