Posted: 04/01/2012 01:00:00 AM MDT
By Erich Bussian. This article originally appeared in the Denver Post on April 1, 2012
There is a war going on here in Durango — a war of words that seems to embody the political schism in this country that grows ever wider and more virulent over time. It is being fought almost daily in the letters to the editor section of The Durango Herald, and it revolves around banning single-use plastic shopping bags.
Supporters of a bag ban point to a litany of environmental and health reasons: plastic is forever, it is toxic, it kills millions of animals, yada, yada, yada and all true. The biggest evidence of the perils of plastic are the ever-growing, continent-sized plastic gyres in all the oceans, which in some places contain a ratio of plastic to plankton — the building block of the marine food chain — of 9 to 1. Local proponents maintain that what is bad for our oceans is bad for our land.
Not everyone agrees. Some view banning plastic bags as an assault on our God-given American freedom. For some in La Plata County and beyond, a bag-ban ordinance exposes Durango for what it is becoming: a new Boulder, the offspring of the People's Republic, spreading Marxism and laying the groundwork for the United Nations' takeover of the rural West.
Durango, however, represents the demographic shifts that have been in motion for a very long time: the latest bridgehead for the social, political and economic evolution of the American West. An evolution that isn't any more finished today than it was in 1900 or 1990.