The Western View is a growing collection of 2.5 minute commentaries, photos, and articles about my home territory: The people and the land west of the Mississippi to the Pacific. It was initially written and recorded for the AgNet West radio network. It’s grown into my obsession.
I love doing it because the American West is such a unique culture. It’s a true merging of the entire world – Native American, European, African, Mideastern and Asian cultures who, whether they wanted to or not, created a new, vibrant society that still intrigues the world. The people who live here now have a rich heritage from so many groups. Our forefathers were hunters, farmers, herdsmen, shopkeepers, builders and traders of all stripes – of all colors. We were slaves and slave owners, warriors and bluecoats, housewives and party girls, Indian chiefs and confederate soldiers, vaqueros and lumberjacks.
That sounds like a pretty rough bunch. Well, it is. We were and are rowdy people. The old vigilante groups in Montana and San Francisco show how calm and easy-going folks can get fed up and take matters into their own hands, when the situation calls for it. The same kind of people can be seen at political rallies and football games today, but fortunately they usually keep the peace.
All these people created the American West. Their stories are fascinating. The issues of yesterday are remarkably familiar to those of today – and in our history are lessons that show how we should handle them. Sometimes our forefathers did well; other times, not so much.
Deeply woven in the story of the West is the story of Agriculture. Our farmers and herdsmen changed the landscape. Railroads were built to haul their goods to the Eastern markets. Ag changed this corner of the world, and is still is a potent force today. I always find new things to write about it.
The Western View collection starts here on this page. You can read it or play the recording and listen. Please comment – let me know what you think. I’d like to get your thoughts and your ideas for future Western Views.