Colorado is too precious to want anything less than a cohesive and integrated state

I lament the state of polarization that we find in Colorado. The extreme voices are the prevalent ones and seem to drive wedges between rural and urban, between rich and poor, blue collar and white collar, between preservationists and land stewards, between white, black, brown, between the genders, between young and old, and between conservatives and progressives. The list goes on. And I detest the angry results, and I miss the civil dialogue.

I miss seeing people coming together.

I miss the Montrose civic forum where all sides were welcome. I am sure that it will begin anew eventually.

I miss the learning and leadership that occurred within Club 20 — www.club20.org — a non-partisan, grassroots organization that had a long history of finding Western Slope solutions for essential water, transportation and public lands issues by building coalitions across the state that assisted our rural areas in being recognized partners with the urban corridors.

I miss the mutual respect and the skillful, honest communication between many divergent approaches to issues where fundamentally we have much in common.

Where are our leaders who can start digging into the facts — not perceptions, but facts? What questions can be asked to identify the paths that can take us from vitriolic soundbites and entrenched positions to those difficult win-win policies and decisions that are in the best long-term interests of our community and our state? Why can’t the rural leaders and urban leaders meet face-to-face to identify paths to support a cohesive and integrated Colorado? I am convinced that there is a ‘radical middle’ out there, and hope that we can reach for better Colorado-centric behavior and solutions as soon as possible. Colorado is too precious to want anything less.

Nancy Fishering

Montrose

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