Friday, August 26, 2016

It’s the People, and Something More

During the 1970s, the Olympia Brewing Company of Tumwater, Washington ran a beer commercial which included the slogan, “It’s the water, and a lot more.”   Several years later, James Carville, strategist for Bill Clinton’s successful 1992 campaign against incumbent president George H. W. Bush, coined the phrase, “It’s the economy, stupid.”  Although Barry and I know little about beer and even less about economics, at Twin Rocks Trading Post we have developed a similar rallying cry:  "It’s the People!”  Barry wanted to include something about turquoise and silver, maybe even Navajo rugs and baskets, but we just could not make that work.

We have been advised by individuals who know a lot more about advertising than we do that, “It’s the People!" is not an exceptionally creative motto and likely will not move people to tears or incite an artistic or philosophic revolution.  While we think that may be accurate, we have at times wondered who would have believed McDonald’s could make a go of, “I’m Lovin’ It”.  It just goes to show you that with enough money and persistence you can move mountains.  The problem for Barry and me, of course, is that we are short of cash and have precious little patience.  Nonetheless, we care a lot about people and believe the saying accurately reflects our most fundamental values.  No matter how eccentric, unconventional or unorthodox they may be, just like Ronald McDonald we are lovin’ ‘em.

Lately, however, the Twin Rocks folks have been embroiled in a number of divisive issues that threaten our peaceful existence.  The Clinton-Trump presidential campaign, for example, has split us along ideological lines.  Some feel Trump has long ago gone off the rails and is nothing short of dangerous, while a others believe he is the sorely needed catalyst for change we have been seeking.  There are even a number who believe Clinton is not to be trusted and will surely land this country in the ditch if she is elected.  No matter what our political alignment, we universally long for a viable alternative.  After months of waiting, hoping and even praying, however, nothing has appeared. 

Despite the unusual presidential campaign, the most heated debate presently circulating around the shop is over the possible designation of a new national monument right in our back yard, and front yard too.  That issue has those of us at the trading post, everybody in San Juan County and a majority of Utah citizens heatedly talking.  Several months ago the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition proposed a mammoth area of almost 2 million acres for protection under collaborative management by local tribes and federal agencies.  The Obama Administration seems to be listening, and we are closely monitoring the situation to see what happens next.  All parties agree the land is of great historical, scientific and scenic value.  The rub comes in how it will be administered and used.  Many county residents, citing long use, desire local control.  The federal agencies seem to believe more control and better oversight is necessary.  Hopefully, there will be a sensible solution that will work in the long-term.

Despite Barry’s fears I will alienate our friends, family and clientele, thereby destroying our primary source of income and leaving us destitute, I have publicly supported the designation.  While there has been passionate debate, and many people have candidly informed me they do not favor my position, Twin Rocks is still in business.  This experience has led me to conclude Barry and I have developed the correct slogan.  We care passionate about the people of Twin Rocks, whether they be customers, staff, friends or just casual visitors.  Fortunately many of them care about us too.  Nevertheless, as insurance against against a complete financial collapse brought on by this extraordinary situation, I have bought Barry a supply of pencils and a tin cup, he already has dark glasses.  Priscilla stenciled the words, “Will work for frybread” on a cardboard sign and she and I jointly scoped out corners on which Barry can hit up the tourists for donations.  We think that may have settled his stomach and calmed his nerves.

Despite their disagreement with my monumental stance, even those residents of San Juan County who feel I too have too gone off the rails and am as dangerous as Donald Trump are mostly kind and generally patient.  These are the people Barry and I have grown up with, spent much of our lives with and Barry has gone to church with.  Consequently, their opinions are important to us and we listen.  Over the years Barry and I have learned that we are not defined by the things that divide us.  Instead, we believe we are the product of issues we have earnestly debated and come to a reasonable compromise. I have personally found that it works best when Barry comes over to my side.  He disagrees.

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