As someone who may migrate to Payson, I was reading your newspaper recently and came across an exchange between Scott Turner and Dell Owens that spoke to me about our wider problems as a society that infect our communities that we all love for different reasons.
I see three problems with the exchange. The first is looking for a fight more than a solution. In my grandparents’ day, the entire community would beat a man senseless if he offended the sensibilities of the community and the ears and eyes of its children. If we’re fighting about things that are obviously wrong, we are nowhere. The second is fearing the outsider. Mr. Owens assumes (probably correctly — Mr. Turner has the affectations of a wealthy Midwesterner if you ask me) that Mr. Turner is an outsider. The inability to understand that we are all outsiders in some way is one thing; the fear of the outsider altogether is another thing. Your parades may be lovely, but you should fear God if you fail to welcome the outsider and show him all your town has to offer instead of simply telling him about it as though it is something he may never enjoy because he isn’t you and yours. And finally, the third thing is we all need to be a bit more positive. F*** Biden is no better or worse than F*** Trump. We are better than these clowns and bureaucrats in Washington. We cannot let them win and divide us. And to do that, we need one another to illuminate our own ignorance so that we can see the ways we come together as a wonderful community far from New York and Washington and Seattle in more ways than just distance. Mr. Owens would do well to apologize to Mr. Turner, and invite him over for the splendid barbecue I’m sure he’s capable of making. Maybe he’d invite me too because I’d love to be a part of all the things he talks about instead of just reading about it in the paper.
Your town is absolutely beautiful by the way. Be proud of all of it.
Niall O’Connor, Denver, Colo.