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Saturday, November 12, 2011


I was raised in a small town. It wasn't tiny by any means, but graduating with eighty-five other people, by most standards, that's pretty small.

Small towns work very differently than cities do. In small towns, the general consensus is that cities are too fast-moving, too big, too corrupt, too crowded, too expensive, etc. Small towns are very proud of themselves, of their school sports teams and their elected officials, their arts and their new buildings. However, the thing that really sets small towns apart is that they're also highly critical of themselves in a passive and quiet way. There are a few public dissenters, but those people are nut-jobs, right? Everyone quietly talks about how messed up things are before they politely smile and move about their business.  In cities, people don't put as much value in etiquitte as they do in direct confrontation. Skip the pleasantries, get stuff done.

I moved from my small town to Denver and stayed there for almot seven years. I loved it. I liked that there was so much stuff conveniently located nearby. However, I missed the small town serenity, which brught me here to Ketchikan, Alaska.

If you all have been reading the news at all, you know about our small town's big problem. It turns out that a certain public official has done some very bad things. The irony for me is that when I moved to the city, I was always wary of somebody not being a good person. It was, after all, the city. Sadly, after moving to a small Alaskan town, I've met people, some very good people, and others, back-stabbers who've hidden under the guise of that ettiquite we small town folk seem to value so much. I've seen very personally more dishonesty and disgusting behavior here in a year than I ever saw in Denver.

Maybe it's time we stopped lying to everyone and to ourselves. Maybe it's time to take responsibility for the things we do, and to hold others accountable for their actions. I understand that small towns, especially places like Ketchikan, very isolated from the outside world, people need to depend on each other, but I refuse to accept that dependence negates trust and writes our neighbors a blank check to do what they will at our expense.  Teamwork is rooted in trust.

These things have been a disappointment, and it's disappointing to be sure. However, those things are greatly outweighed by the good people who are also here and in other small towns who are great friends, loyal and honest, especially when you don't want to hear what a putz you've been. There's always hope. There's always light.