Small town politics


You have found the perfect piece of land, it’s out in a rural area, you don’t have many neighbors, as time goes by you get to know the precious few folk who live around you, then it happens… you begin hearing little snippets of gossip, there is some sort of feud going on and you are being pulled in, asked to be part of one of the factions. This may be a long standing problem, or it may be something that just started, so what are you going to do now?

Unfortunately this is often part of the reality of living in a small town, small community, rural areas, “small town politics” is not about which political party you belong to, but something more insidious. When you live in a more populated place, it’s easy to separate yourself from drama, but when you live in a low population area, you can’t just quit being neighbors, you are going to see these people on a regular basis, at a future time you may need some help or they may need some help, why sabotage that just for the sake of some silly feud that is going on?

Yes, I am speaking from experience here, I live in a very small community, there are perhaps 200 full time residents living here, we have 2 churches who, for the most part, get along quite nicely. When I first moved out here, I was warned by one of the old timers that feuds happen, factions take root and they would try to force me to take sides. I assured my new friend (we are still friends BTW) that I would not get involved in that sort of thing and no one could force me to take sides.

Many years later I am happy to say that is still a true statement, though it has taken effort on my end to keep that true, even if I don’t agree with someone over something, they are still my neighbor and hopefully friend, if I saw them broke down on the side of the road, I would stop and help, I feel like they would do the same for me no matter what.

If you are considering moving to a rural area, sooner or later this will be something that comes up, you will have to decide, hopefully ahead of time, how you are going to deal with these sorts of issues, you can jump in, take sides, be part of the feud, or you can choose not to, you CAN refuse to take sides, when you live in a small community, being angry at part of them is never a good thing. You ARE going to run into these folk on the road, at the store, at the mailbox… I have told people, on more than one occasion that they I like everyone involved and don’t wish to take sides, that works amazingly well.

Perhaps it’s my independent nature that makes it possible for me to not get involved with the interpersonal politics of the neighborhood, I have always been a “watcher”, I observe how people behave and interact with each other, I will lend an ear to someone who needs one, I’ll even offer advice, but I REFUSE to take sides, it’s often not a black and white issue anyhow, and in the end, it doesn’t really matter, usually both sides have behaved badly, especially in long standing feuds, so you can choose to jump into the mud and become part of the problem, of you can walk around the mud pit and offer a hand to anyone who wishes to climb out of the mud, just be careful that hand doesn’t pull you in… What say you on this?

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