Friday, November 23, 2012

Joyful arguments

     Residents of Blaine County, Idaho, love to carp and complain. You name it, there’ll be a public hearing on it and at least 35 people will show up with passionate opinions on whatever the subject is.

     When residents don’t agree with one another, the local squabbling is aggravating at best. But during a holiday weekend that calls on us to contemplate the good things in life, that squabbling could also be viewed as one of the great blessings of liberty and mountain life. It’s a blessing because of what we don’t squabble about.

     Unlike Israel, for example, we’re not forced to squabble about what kind of defense to mount to the bombs raining down on us from the Gaza Strip. We don’t have to weigh the possible reactions of allies and enemies.

     Unlike politicians in Washington, D.C., we don’t have to decide whether or not to drive the nation off a fiscal cliff.

     Unlike diplomats and world leaders, the fate of the world doesn’t ride on our shoulders. We exercise responsibility for the fate of our backyards, our towns and our state. Compared to others, our lot is a piece of cake.

     We have the joy of arguing about revamping Friedman Memorial airport for larger jets that may bring more people to experience our sparkling environs.

     We have the joy of bickering over restoration of the Big Wood River and creation of a whitewater park near Ketchum.

     We have the joy of figuring out if and how our cities will get complete systems of sidewalks, bike paths and ski trails.

     We have the joy of debating the merits of billboards vs. web vs. TV vs. print vs. skywriting as advertising to attract visitors. We also get to squabble about parking, education, traffic and protecting views of mountains and the Milky Way.

     These arguments are luxuries in the world. They are squabbles for which we should be thankful because they are the luxuries of peace.

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