Peacing it back together

It’s a well-known phenomenon that when it snows in Denver during Monday Night Football, ski resort phones ring off the hook. But, what’s not all that well known to people living outside Colorado is that weather on the Front Range is not always indicative of what’s going on in the mountains to the west. Nevertheless, countless skiers and vacationers from throughout the country are mesmerized by the sight of snow flying and the thought of virginal powder fields and a winter wonderland. Without a minute to spare in the throes of their sudden snow lust, they lunge for the nearest phone, booking a resort rendezvous. For the tourism industry, it’s nothing short of a subliminal marketing miracle: free advertising to a captive audience of millions.

Unfortunately, this adoring national audience of millions can be fickle; downright ornery sometimes. Who remembers the Amendment 2 boycott in the early ’90s? My own brother, who lived in a notoriously blue state, wouldn’t even talk to me. This, despite my repeated reassurances that I did not vote for the controversial measure. He even went so far as to use the “r” word – that’s right, “redneck,” as in: “Why would I ever want to go to a state full of rednecks?”

That hurt. Sure, I had been known to wear Sorels with skirts and was frequently reprimanded for snot-rocketing in public. But when it comes to necks, mine’s about as pale as they come.

No matter. For the next few years, in his eyes and those of countless others, the Centennial State was known as “The Hate State.”

Thankfully, Amendment 2 was struck down as unconstitutional, and my politically sensitive, out-of-state relations took up communing with me once again.

But just when I thought it was safe to extend an invitation to visit again, to prove that not all us mountain-dwellers are zealots, unabombers or Limbaugh lackeys, it happened again. Colorado, and more specifically my little corner of it, was thrust in the national spotlight. There we were, on the Yahoo homepage for everyone with an internet connection to see. And you know when it tops Pamela Anderson and Kid Rock’s divorce, it’s big news. I’m talking something even more embarrassing and humiliating to the good, honest, moral people of our state than the Rev. Ted Haggard-male prostitute scandal. That’s right – I’m talking Peacegate.

By now, everyone in the free world has heard the story backward and forward, how a peace-sign-shaped wreath was ordered removed from a subdivision for being a subversive Satanic message. How a holiday display promoting peace was construed as a blatant, offensive, antiwar message. And how the peace symbol bears an uncanny likeness to the Mercedes Benz logo, an obvious conspiracy between automakers and peaceniks. OK, maybe I made that last part up. But the point is to illustrate the utter assininity (not a word, but it should be) of the whole thing. By comparison, Pam and Kid almost sound, well, normal. It’s a sad day when a universally recognized symbol for something that just so happens to be a major theme of the season is called into question for being offensive in “a time of war.” So are we supposed to take from this that, since Christmas is about peace on Earth and all that other obvious antiwar sentiment, maybe we should do away with the holidays all together during war time? Perhaps the homeowner in question would have been better off hanging a wreath shaped like a dollar sign.

Just where, praytell, were these people during last year’s upside-down Christmas tree craze? If that’s not a sign of the devil, I don’t know what is.

I can’t help but be a little paranoid. I mean, if the peace symbol isn’t safe from persecution, what is? God only knows what people are thinking about – gasp – the low-voltage, p.c. Christmas lights we put up at our house this year. Not only are they an affront to power plants everywhere, but their muted glow is eerily similar to the neon lights of none other than Las Vegas – Sin City itself.

So, before situations escalate and we lock up Santa for being a pedophile, I would like to remind everyone of the well-known Christmas story of a young, innocent boy who came into this world to deliver a message. No, not that boy. I’m talking about Rudolph. You know, the little reindeer who was banished from his home because his herd disapproved of his bright red nose (which by today’s standards would probably merit a good, old-fashioned burning at the stake). He was shunned and ran away, where his only friend was a fellow societal outcast, who, curiously enough, happened to be a dentist. Anyway, Rudolph’s nose and the dentist’s drill ended up saving the whole damn Christmas holiday, and all the naysayers were feeling pretty stupid right about then.

So, there’s a lesson to be learned here: accept all others, regardless of their differences. Oh, and floss regularly.

Because, much like during a Monday Night football snowstorm, people are going to come to their own conclusions. If the snow is piling up on the 50 yardline, then it must really be dumping in the mountains. Likewise, if people in one tiny, microcorner of the state are castigating a neighbor for furthering the notion of peace, then the whole damn state must be full of backwards looney tunes who probably still think the world is flat, crop circles are the work of aliens, and peace is the work of the devil. Personally, I think that’s the sort of media storm we can do without.

– Missy Votel

In this week's issue...

July 21, 2022
Wildlife success or deal with the devil?

Land swap approved in Southwest Colorado, but not without detractors

July 21, 2022
Tapping out

The latest strategy to save the San Luis Valley's shrinking aquifer: paying farmers not to farm

July 14, 2022
Hey, good environmental news

Despite SCOTUS ruling, San Juan Generating Station plans to shut down