Diverse populations add to difficulty of governing | PostIndependent.com

Diverse populations add to difficulty of governing

Out on a Limb
Ross L. Talbott
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

One fascinating aspect of today’s culture is the incredible disparity in background, ethnicity and experience of our citizens.

When the pilgrims first landed, they all came from the same background and nationality and faced the same challenges.

They were basically white evangelical Christians. Arriving at some consensus concerning organization and government was not too complex.

Today however, we have such an incredibly complex society in which consensus is really hard to come by.

On one end of the spectrum we have ranchers and farmers still making a living from the soil and the animals. They plow their own snow, feed the livestock, harvest and prepare food and do their own construction.

At the other end of the spectrum are the rich, living in multimillion dollar homes, flying in private jets and eating food prepared by chefs.

In between these two extremes are people living a multitude of different lives, everything from computer nerds to the homeless sleeping in the alleys.

This cultural stratification is evidenced in this area in an interesting way. If you look at the river valley from an economic viewpoint you will see that the upper end is the wealthiest and as you flow downstream the average income is less.

This is also a political problem. The upper class, in the upper valleys, tends to be strongly liberal while moving downriver becomes more conservative with lower income.

How then does any government agency or official govern wisely when faced with such differences?

How does one even get elected without double talk, hollow promises and changing positions?

The situation is further complicated by immigration, both legal and illegal. If you come to this country from where Sharia law rules, your expectations certainly differ from a Mexican immigrant.

If you were born into a wealthy family and went to Harvard your expectations are certainly different than the girl who waited tables to pay for school at the local state college.

How can elections be fair and equitable when the amount of money spent on campaigns makes such a difference in the outcome?

The concept of “representative government” just becomes a myth with the exception of the local level.

The smaller communities can still have a good representative government, maybe even to the county level. The larger and more diverse a population becomes, the more difficult it is to vote wisely and be correctly informed.

It becomes increasingly difficult for people to honestly understand each other’s needs. Do you really believe it’s possible for the resident of Aspen to understand the needs of a tool pusher living in DeBeque, or vice versa for that matter?

On the state level there is a huge disparity between the Front Range and the Western Slope. Sometimes I think we should secede and form a new state, maybe with part of Eastern Utah. A toll gate at the tunnels would finance the government.

Then you throw philosophical and religious positions into the mix and consensus fades into dreamland.

Bill Bennett said, “Nothing blinds people to reality more than ideology.”

When you elevate all this to the national level and you have a bunch of so called representatives who are wealthy attorneys, all hope of understanding reality goes out the window (or down the porcelain disposal unit).

Very few people, for instance, have any experiential knowledge about the problem with Iran but their ignorance is usually inversely proportional to the strength of their opinion.

What then do you fall back on when selecting leadership? First of all is integrity second is honesty and third is openness or forthrightness.

If a person will cheat on his taxes, can you trust him in any area? Show your college records, open your life to examination of your heritage and birth record, stick to your promises, actively seek criticism and council and surround yourself with people of integrity if you would be an outstanding leader.

I fear that the complexity of the problem makes it humanly impossible to solve.

We should diligently seek divine intervention. Your government does not really care what you think but God does.

Ross L. Talbott lives in New Castle.

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