One of the things we deal with in our small town (650+ in town, 4000+ in all of Custer County) is the fact that we know each other by name, or at least by the circles we travel in. There’s the cowboy circle, the Baptist Circle, the Lutheran Circle, the Liberal circle, the rich folks (or come-here people) and the poor folks. We don’t overlap much, and there are other circles besides, but we’re aware of one another, that’s for sure.
Like the rest of the country, our little town is split in two with a vague and shrinking gray area in the middle: God and Guns to the Right, Community and Inclusion to the Left. I lean strongly leftward as you’ve probably figured out.
Years ago, when I started what is now called a blog, and even before that when I started writing and performing my songs, I made a decision to keep politics out of my public life. I still feel strongly about that commitment. Kindness and all the things that go with looking at life from another’s point of view is more powerful than any political statement I could ever make. That doesn’t mean I have no point of view. I do. It just means I keep my thoughts to myself, talking only with friends and family when it feels right to do so.
Yet here I am. Here we all are. And for the first time I feel like I must speak. If I don’t, I’ll hold some of the responsibility if things go wrong.
My parents are 87. They were alive when Europe went from plain old Europe to a dangerous Europe because of one man’s misguided ego. I believe the United States could be headed in a similar direction. Most of you reading this are probably in agreement with me already. If you’re not, please think long and hard. Hatred leads to violence. Openness and compassion, although harder to attain, ultimately lead to the kind of world that allows us to get up in the morning, stretch our limbs, and be grateful for all we have. Please. Denounce the messages that Donald Trump is sending. They are harmful and hurtful to all of us.