Baxter Black: The western migration invasion
April 11, 2014
The legalization of marijuana in Colorado has brought to a head a common point of contention that has happened in state after state. It is a generational change, a population shift that is the result of the inevitable roll of civilization.
It also marks a shift from rural to urban.
Throughout the years, I have watched certain Western towns and cities evolve into mini-metros that no longer belong to the state that bore them: Santa Fe, N.M.; Aspen; Missoula, Mont.; Sedona, Ariz.; Monterey, Calif.; and Deer Valley, Utah.
They become baby Berkeleys or Austins or Madisons. They grow and metastasize. They start changing the laws, the values and the livelihoods of the invaded towns and states into those from the cities they left behind.
It often is referred to as "Californication." The new wave of settlers leave the state of their upbringing because it's too crowded, crime is omnipresent, politics are corrupt, freeways are snarled and it's no place to raise a family.
One day, on vacation, they drive through a Western city with spectacular views, open space, friendly folk and not much crime, so they buy a piece of property. They build a second home and commute back and forth. It's so quaint — they stay.
Recommended Stories For You
They bring with them the conveniences and expectations they took for granted — their metroplex. The locals originally look at it as a blessing, a taxable addition. The more they cater to new money, the deeper they fall into the trap of dependency.
Then the newcomers begin to miss the attitudes and modernity that made big city living bearable. "This is the 21st century! Let's get with it!"
They have no historical sense of intrinsic value or the hardship of generations, or the workin' man culture. They are the Princess Di trying to fit in with the Duck Dynasty!
The newbies don't enjoy having a hog farm down the road, kids getting out of school for hunting season or skiing Fridays. They despise zoning laws that allow sale barns, dairies, timber mills, mining claims or gas wells to prosper.
The new settlers gain influence and numbers primarily because of their financial advantage. Throughout a period of years, a tipping point is reached. The town now is being run by money made elsewhere. Eventually, the locals are relegated to serving their conquerors. A community that 25 years ago would have been appalled, now welcomes topless bars, a resort tax, gated neighborhoods, private security guards, license tags for your dog or a Pot Hole that now sells marijuana to users.
Oh, well, I better go look at Princess Di's horse. She always pays her bill.