Monday, January 21, 2008

The tragic aspect of Olympia

Is that although there's enough ideas, energy. and good people there to send the town to the moon the enormous resistance to progressive initiatives and culture in the town strangles much of that energy before it can manifest. The resistance comes from Olympians who resent the presence of Evergreen and the progressive culture that's come to the town because of Evergreen as well as because of the presence of Fort Lewis up the road. The conservative Olympians have cast themselves as being the defenders of the people at Fort Lewis and have cast the Greeners as being the ultimate enemies of them. The military itself spreads disinformation among the troops about Evergreen and the intentions of the anti-war Greeners towards the soldiers. Many of the soldiers also live in the Olympia area, many in the new sort of suburb towns that have grown up like Lacey but also in the town itself. Although people who have contact with Evergreeners and progressives in Olympia no doubt are at least somewhat aware that the official story isn't true, the people who live in the area but away from the progressive Olympian culture are more conservative. Because of all of this living in Olympia makes you feel like you're under siege, that you're surrounded by people who hate you and who sometimes don't mind telling you it. In the time I've lived in Seattle I've found more basic respect than I ever did in Olympia outside of the fellow Greeners and fellow travelers that I knew. Likewise, even though I don't live in an area where people are visibly militantly progressive I feel that I have quite a bit more freedom to express myself. It certainly feels like regular life up here and not like the schizophrenic split personality of acceptance/hatred that characterizes the Olympia area.

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