Craig Henningfield: Can the power of love make a difference? |

Craig Henningfield: Can the power of love make a difference?

I grew up with the political, cultural and economic categories of “left” and “right.” Behind these common ways of labeling people and groups lies a horizontal orientation. Without this horizontal viewpoint, there is no “left” or “right.”

Did we adopt the horizontal orientation because, at many levels, we recognized that we must face our issues together? We have different approaches — thus the labels “liberal” and “conservative” — but we recognized our common need to resolve communal issues together.

When I finished reading “Finding self-sufficiency: New report shows 3rd of area families fall below county poverty standards” in the Dec. 28, 2018, issue of the Steamboat Pilot & Today, I wondered if the viewpoint is shifting from “horizontal” to “vertical.”

Here’s what I mean: instead of the usual “left/right” images, are we moving toward “up/down” categories? Based on the article, from an economic viewpoint, this “vertical approach” highlights that there are those who “have” and those who “have not;” the “rich” and the “poor;” those “with choice and freedom” and those “with less/without choice and freedom.”

Read the article again. Does it shock you that one-third — 30.4% — of area families fall below county poverty standards? Does it surprise you that one in three families cannot easily and reasonably live in our county? Does it grieve you that so many households struggle to live here?

I’m sure most of us have heard the phrase: “the rich get richer while the poor get poorer.” The political equivalent is “the powerful gain more power while the less-powerful are increasingly powerless.” Perhaps the cultural comment can be “the influencers gain more voice while the influenced have less voice.”

Might these ring true to you? Is this happening in our valley?

Are these “vertical issues” present concerns and/or future issues that will have to be faced? I suspect so. These are, no doubt, complex issues. And, they are our issues that must be pondered and resolved here in our community. In a world that thrives on the love of power — political, economic, cultural — can the power of love make a difference?

Thank you, Kari Dequine Harden for bringing the “new report” to public light. Thank you, Kelly Keith for your humanitarian and herculean efforts across our county. Thank you, Sue Fegelein and to all the folks who make LiftUp of Routt County special for standing in the gap. Thanks to all of you for entering the conversation, exploring the needs, expressing the possibilities and engaging the necessary work of helping as appropriate.

Craig Henningfield

Steamboat Springs

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