Two ballot measures: 300 v 2D. One (2D) that says things are fine the way they are. Another (300) that says we can do better. And the more I think about it the more I feel for sure, yes, it really is that simple, and, yes, the choice is an easy one. Because things are not fine. Not as Main Street grows ever more crowded and the backstreets grow ever darker. As my aging father on our steepest street is left without neighbors, as my mother and I buy less Halloween candy because there are fewer trick-or-treaters every year.

We are mining ever deeper into the soul of who we are. But we live amidst toxic ore and ghost towns. We should remember the dangers of digging too brazenly and too deep.

Question 300 will not solve all of these problems. Certainly not in one fell swoop. But good lord at least it’s willing to try. We should all have learned by now that there is no space for timidity in times like these. Perhaps we’ve spent so much time telling each other how special this place is we’ve forgotten that it’s actually true, and have been taught to live in fear that anything that touches our real estate records — the tainted silver ore of its day — will send us crumbling and spiraling into ruin. It isn’t so. We are buttressed by the 8,750 feet of earth beneath us that keeps the air cool as the world bakes. It’s simple enough. As long as we have this people will come and the town will prosper. We can act with care and with confidence. We can afford to live with dignity.

Or we can choose 2D. We can be more and more a place of people who don’t live here serving other people who don’t live here either. If you’ll indulge me in a moment of melodrama. Imagine the workers can arrive each morning from ever more hours away to open the town gates at 7:30 a.m., preparing for the public to enter at 9 a.m. They can turn on the self-checkout machines at the souvenir shop/gallery, and the automated coffee dispensers at the cafeteria, and the lights at what used to be the bookstore, and hang old-timey posters on what used to be the movie theater. And the very wealthy, who were able to rent a vaguely Victorian night of mountain luxury living, will look out at the valley and briefly ponder: I wonder who used to live here? What this place used to be like? "Yes" on 300. "No" on 2D.

 Max Walker-Silverman