Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Our Hubris As Relative Newcomers

It always seems a bit odd to hear some Americans berate immigrants who are struggling to learn English as a second language.

After all, English isn’t the first language of Americans.

As the grandfather of two 8th generation westerners and 18th generation Americans, I found a chart on page 5 of the current issue of High Country News fascinating.

It maps 60 American languages that long preceded English and are still in use in the contiguous West along with the number of speakers remaining for each.

Three of my great-great grandparents learned two or more of these languages enough to be interpreters including Shoshone, Northern and Southern Paiute, Navaho, Zuni and Hopi.

The latter three are still fairly widely spoken but the number speaking Shoshone has dipped near 2,500 and there are only 12 people remaining who speak Northern Paiute.

There are only 20 people remain who speak Spokane, the language of the Indian nation for whom the city along the Northern Rockies is named.

This is also where I started my now concluded career in community destination marketing and where my only child was born.

There are only 174 who speak Coeur d’Alene, the nation for whom the famous lake in the north of my native Idaho is named more than four decades ago.

The article by journalist Jeremy Miller that accompanies the chart in High Country News notes that one of the world’s 7,000 distinct languages vanishes every 14 days, meaning “between half and 90 percent” will disappear by the end of this century.

“Of the 176 known languages once spoken in the U.S., 52 are thought to be dormant or extinct.”

A January article in National Geographic provided updated archeological and genome research on The First American that reminds us that even those of us who go back 16 generations here are relatively new arrivals.

The first Americans crossed over into what is now Alaska 15,500 years ago.  Genetically, they were two-thirds East Asian and one-third Eurasian.  There, their DNA mutated into unique markers found today in Native Americans but not Asians.

Deglaciation permitted these first Americans to migrate over the next two thousand years into what is now the continental United States and clear to the tip of South America.

To put this time period in perspective, though, fossils show that the pine trees they passed were 130 million years old.  Pines are the ecologically the most important trees in the world making human inhabitation of northern climates bearable.

Spear points found southeast of Salmon just below the ridgeline of the Continental Divide in my native Idaho date the earliest humans in that state to 11,000 years ago.

My ancestors who are credited with helping to establish the first permanent settlement in that state and served as interpreters with Shoshone Native Americans were under no illusion that they were first.

They accepted as Christian scripture, along with the the Bible, The Book of Mormon which chronicles the writings of ancient prophets on this continent beginning more than 4,000 years ago.

Maybe we should all just lighten up on those learning English.

Monday, March 02, 2015

The Native Home of Hope

Authenticity is not a fad when it comes to sense of place,  but use - or should I say misuse – of the word has become one.

This will pass, and when it does the attributes of authenticity of place will remain by definition nearly temporal.

My personal story begins as the only son of an only son, born at the tail end of five generations of Rocky Mountain ranchers who gradually migrated during the hundred years before I was born from the Central to the Northern Rockies.

Our ancestral ranch is where I learned sense of place, e.g. the smell of sage brush, new mown hay, and rain on a dirt road, as well as the sound of a Meadowlark and the colors of Yellowstone Cutthroat in the Henry’s Fork.

But it is also where I first learned about myths: including myths about rugged individualists, the cowboy errant Knight and other stereotypes of the West that I see fleeting across the eyes of people who want to hear my story.

I didn’t read Wallace Stegner until I came across his incredible essay in my early 30s entitled, Sense of Place.  This is where he coined that term and I still recommend to anyone seeking an understanding of authenticity.

It was my daughter, then in her third year of college, who brought me to Stegner in more depth.  Having heard my story, she knew that the breadth and depth of his writings would resonate.  It is such a gift to be understood.

One of my favorites is a book of essays written over a span that covered my first two decades entitled, The Sound of Mountain Water.  The first was published the year before I was born, the last in the collection as I turned 21.

The namesake essay in the book is a lyrical description about my native Yellowstone-Teton nook of Idaho and its famed Henry’s Fork including this resonate memoir from his first visit there in 1920:

“I gave my heart to the mountains the minute I stood beside this river…”

It is a myth though that the west was settled by rugged individualists.

While that characteristic was prevalent, in several of his books, Stegner supports, as he does in one of the essays in The Sound of Mountain Water, that “cooperation, not rugged individualism, is the quality that most characterizes and preserves” the American West.

When all but two lines of my ancestors crossed the Rockies, to be followed by the remaining two within a decade, there were fewer than 90,000 people inhabiting 750,000 square miles (twice the area of Western Europe.)

There were fewer than 70,000 along the Rockies, nearly all living in what are now New Mexico and Arizona.

Even after the Gold Rush and the arrival of 11,000 Mormons by 1850, the entire West when my ancestors settled there was less than 1% of the US population at the time.

Ranches required an average of four square miles or 2,500 acres, so to avoid isolation and provide safety and shared resources, much of the West was settled on what is called a “village and square model.”

It’s also why early jurisdictions for governance there relied more on river basins and watersheds for boundaries.

Predominately, during the fifty years prior to 1890 as the West was won ranchers lived in settlements near craftsmen, artisans, granaries and supply depots and commuted out to their land and livestock.

Sometimes historians also refer to this as a “village-farm system.”

Much of what is depicted in novels and movies about the West as well as that depicted by many of those who profess to be westerners today is synthetic.

Pure and simple, the West evolved to what it is today through a sense of commons that revolutionized the sense of land and water ownership.

The myth of rugged self-reliance became evident during the 1930’s Great Depression.

Groups such as Mormon leaders felt their recently evolved welfare program would be sufficient and pressed by partisans expressed that somehow the new federal program which emulated it would create sloth and dependency.

But the Mountain states where Mormons were then centered became the largest per capita users of the federal aid program.  Mormon leaders marveled at the public works projects completed by those receiving it as a condition.

Given their history, they shouldn’t have been at all surprised.

Apparently, they had forgotten that it is trust that led to economic development of the West, just as a new study has found in a study of survivors of Atomic bombs that trust enabled them to rebuild from that trauma.

Today, a small group of reactionaries in the West are pushing to let special interests get their hands on public lands for mining and drilling, backed quietly by Wall Street interests who have over the decades, raped the West in similar fashion.

They are dismissing economic analysis, which I have written about previously, showing that rural counties adjacent to public lands have outperformed others and that counties where resource exploitation occurs ultimately fall much lower.

But it was not the various gold, silver and copper strikes in the early west that provided sustainable growth.

It was grass.

In part, it was this unique, resilient, drought tolerant wild grass that led my ancestors who had settled in 1860 along each side of the Utah-Idaho border to relocate to the northern extreme of the Upper Snake River plain to create new homesteads along the Henry’s Fork.

Famously framed by the Continental Divide, Yellowstone and the Tetons, this area of my origin is the culmination of a hundred mile stretch that is no more than 70 miles wide at its widest narrowing to 20 or 30 miles where I was born.

The sides of this valley range to 10,000’ framed by the Lost River and Lemhi ranges stretching down from the Sawtooths and on the east by the Caribou, Snake River and Teton ranges.

My ancestors were following an old stagecoach supply route between Utah and the mines in Montana which, beginning in the late 1870s, was becoming the path of a slowly emerging railroad eventually to supply tourists to Yellowstone.

But above where the Henry’s Fork joined the South Fork to form the Snake River, settlers such as my ancestors were surprised to find the landscape covered not by sage brush, but waist high, wild bluegrass from the river to the Tetons and north to forests of the Centennial range.

The area had already been transited by trappers and then a cattle company but it was still available to homestead.  But they still followed the modified “village-farm and ranch” model adapted from when their parents cross the Rockies in the mid-1840s.

My ancestors found that the western side of the Henry’s Fork was even better adapted to ranching.  They had modified the village-ranch model but settled this new area as they had others in the West through cooperation.

Together, they marked off land, built bridges and roads, created reservoirs and irrigation canals, established granaries for the poor, created cemeteries and erected school houses.

Tough, independent and self-reliant – certainly – but with an even greater commitment to cooperation, the commons, public education and the welfare of those less fortunate.

By the time I was born in 1948, a hundred years after ancestors began settling the Rocky Mountain west,  rich potato farms had replaced the bluegrass in our nook of Idaho, as they have the ranchland on the west side now thanks to pivot irrigation systems.

The West is always changing.  Although I haven’t lived there since the 1970s, I travel along the Rockies each summer on road trips with my grandsons and daughter. 

Much more dramatic than the subtle land use changes since my youth are the demographic and psychographic changes.  Much of Idaho has been inhabited by in migration that seemingly seeks to replace the real Idaho by making it a refuge for the synthetic West.

I don’t mean the Aryan Nation which was expelled fifteen years ago.  Places in Idaho are exurbs such as Coeur d’Alene.  While whites represent only 8% of the population growth in the past decade, they represent 73% of the flight to exurbs.

Most seem to be chasing myths created when misinformation is re-harmonized to fit worldview.

It is complicated but emblematic.  The best way to understand why my homeland now seems foreign, click to watch an episode of the phenomenal PBS America By The Numbers program entitled Our Private Idaho.

As a fellow North Carolinian once wrote, “You Can Never Go Home Again,” and that is sad.  But the West will keep changing.

But as Stegner wrote, the West is also “the native home of Hope.”  My hope is that it will once again claim its authentic roots.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Two-Edge Sword of Drive and Passion

My Dad was discharged from the Army by 1946 and returned from Germany to reunite with my Mom and resume ranching.  Two years later they had me.

Ranching never really slows down but during the winters he found time each week to head 20 miles from our ancestral ranch in the Yellowstone-Teton nook of Idaho up into Targhee National Forest to snow ski at Bear Gulch.

He continued to ski into his 70s.

Bear Gulch is long gone now, but in 1938 when my Dad was in high school and just two years after the creation of Sun Valley, it became Idaho’s second ski area.

While I was growing up, there were remnants of one of two old chair lifts there,  which had been two big, 5’ x 16’ flat-bottomed sleds that together carried up to 14 skiers seated side-ways.

Very cool but by the time I was coming up “the Bear” only had a T-bar and a Rope Tow, at least until I was in high school.  When I was 10 years old, a day pass cost $2.50 and a full season no more than a good steak dinner does now.

By the time I was two or three years of age, so I am told, I began appealing to him to take me along.  So the winter after I turned 4 years old he insisted that if I was to go I had to learn to snowplow first.

Late one afternoon, after we had used a huge, horse-drawn sleigh to take feed out to our cattle, Dad took me to the steep hill that abruptly rose across Sand Creek just behind our horse barn.

Across a narrow gully, I could see the Ora Cemetery where many of my ancestors are buried, an inhold-commons carved out and given by my great-grandparents to the county.

Until well after dark, I remember marching repeatedly up that hill, skis and poles bundled in my arms, and then repeatedly trying to learn to snowplow down to the bottom.

It didn’t go very well.

My Dad, who was still in his 20s at the time, only knew one reaction to a range of emotions, whether fear, sadness, frustration, or anger.

And that was intensity.

I learned to ski that day and got my wish, but it would be ten more years before I would finally learn to love it like he did.

My mom, who was not yet 25 years old, was furious that night when we finally stomped the snow off our boots on the back porch after that first lesson out behind the barn.

Both parents had good reason to try and breathe fire into me.  Food allergies after birth had meant moths of projectile vomit and crying. Doctors feared my condition was failure to thrive.

I weighed less than I did when I was born a healthy 8+ pounds, when during a vicious snowstorm, my parents couldn’t find my formula and soon discovered that whole milk agreed with me.

But I am sure the trauma of those first six months lingered and may have led them to become intense whenever it came to teaching me to work through challenges.

My youngest sister, who came along when I was six, still kids me that as she was growing up, I would often put her through the lessons I had learned in R.M. Bowman boot camp (smile.)

This may be one of the reasons my middle sister retreated to her room so often when we were growing up.

The ability or willingness to work through challenges may have been my parent’s greatest gift to me, although I often gave them reason to worry well into my 20s.

It is one of the handful of skills known as “executive functions,” which act as an air traffic control system for others. They are crucial to learn by the time you are five or six and one of the hallmarks researchers have found that separate achievers from those who struggle or give up.

It is also one of the five attributes that Gallup, after more than 15 years of study, finds that distinguish those in the workforce who are more engaged from those who are less engaged:

  • loyal to the organization
  • willing to put forth discretionary effort
  • willing to trust and cooperate with others
  • willing to work through challenges
  • willing to speak out about problems and offer constructive suggestions for improvements

Based on my four decades as a CEO and a few prior as a supervisor, it would be impossible to argue with this research or to rank them in any order.  They are also very hard to teach to adults, although the organizations I led had some success inculcating the last attribute into our culture.

Working through challenges includes the ability to persevere through disappointments.  My parents may have breathed a bit too much fire into me as a preschooler because one of the things I had to work hardest to hone during my career was how to convey disappointment to coworkers.

At my most proficient, I doubt I reached more than a 5 or 6 on a scale of 1 to 10 but I did learn to hire a second who had that gift.

Throughout nearly my entire career, the consultants I found most useful to both me and the organizations I led were specialists in organizational behavior.

Dr. Wes Harper, then an RHR consultant based in Portland, was an organizational behavior psychologist we used during my 1980s stint in Alaska.

Then in my mid-30s, he gave me an invaluable insight: to be more aware of the impact I had on people in my presence.

Still striving as though I was that 4 year old going up and down that hill behind our barn, I was unaware that my incredible drive could be a two-edge sword.

Peter Bergman is a similar consultant whose writings I find enlightening, even in retirement.  He posted on HBR.org this week that, “If you’re a high-performing, impatient leader, supporting others during tough times can be particularly hard for you to do.”

He continues, “It’s hard because your natural, knee-jerk response to underperformance is anger, directed at yourself and others.”  Read the post, but his point is that while accountability is important, if these employees are high performers, “awareness and accountability aren’t their problems.

“What is?  Regaining enough confidence to take necessary risks to succeed after failure.”  When addressing “underperformance,” one of the four tips by Bergman, is to do what is important to any crucial conversation and “decide on the outcome you want” as well as the relationship going forward.

As tough as my Dad seemed through the eyes of a cold and wet 4-year-old on that makeshift ski hill, he and my Mom obviously also understood how to help me regain enough confidence to take the necessary risks to succeed after failure.

Unfortunately, 70% of adults at any stage in the workforce are simply disengaged, nearly 20% of whom are actively disengaged according to Gallup.  This also applies to managers.

Good management can tweak engagement but it can’t overcome mindset.  Even praise can cause someone with a “fixed” mindset to freeze up even more.

But the real answer is good parenting about two decades before they reach the workforce.

I never had the opportunity to be much of a parent but I sure had two incredible examples and I see one in my daughter.  As a society, if we really want to instill those five Gallup attributes above, the point of intervention is not school, but in those first five years of parenting.

I was lucky.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Attributes For Serving On Governing Boards

I became a CEO in my mid-20s, at a very young age, albeit for an organization still in start-up.

Friends have always kidded me that it must have been nice not having a boss for all but a handful of years during my long ago concluded four-decade career.

But I always had bosses.  They were governing boards of rotating directors to whom I was accountable that always included a member or two who didn’t understand or accept that a board only gives direction as a whole, not as individuals.

Even a chair person couldn’t give direction without direction provided by the board as a whole.  Often the most difficult transition for some board members is from the managerial or owner role in their own organizations to one of oversight as part of a group.

Unfortunately, few of us are vetted for even minimal attributes and skills, such as critical and strategic thinking or how to run a meeting before being appointed or elected to governing boards.

An article in the current issue of Harvard Business Review about where boards in general fall short, made me think back to how fortunate I was to have so many great board members given the agendas of some individuals and how and why they were appointed.

Only 16% of the directors surveyed thought the boards they served on understood the dynamics of the industries in which their organizations were involved and only 22% believed their boards knew how their organizations created value.

The community destination marketing organizations (DMOs) that I served were especially complex because they function as intermediaries between external stakeholders and internal stakeholders including a whole sector of different industries.

That a board member comes from one of the front line stakeholder industries is no guarantee they will understand the overall sector, let alone the transcendent purpose of visitor-centric economic and cultural development: to broaden the local tax base while guarding unique sense of place inherent to the communities they serve.

This is why being teachable is an important attribute for potential governing board members.

As the authors note, the two codified core aspects of fiduciary responsibilities of board members include loyalty to the organization, “placing the organization’s interest ahead of one’s own,” which includes outside special interests.

The other is prudence, ensuring that “the proper care, skill and diligence is applied to business decisions.”  The authors note that there is nothing to suggest that the “role of loyal and prudent directors” is to pressure management to maximize” short term interests.

Yet, in my experience, this is what special interests relentlessly seek.   Examples of this in community destination marketing organizations are when elected officials or facility managers try to pressure a DMO to substitute short term objectives such as subsidizing groups to use certain facilities or to fill hotel rooms or and seats near term.

The far more valuable strategic purpose of a DMO is to safeguard a communities indigenous sense of place and to fuel the overall local business climate so as to broaden the tax base.

This generates far greater overall revenues than if used instead to merely close the short term operating deficits of a few public or private facilities.

Organizations with self-appointed boards, unless the nomination process is truly democratic, as in the first two organizations I led, can still be rife with directors there to serve their own interests or those of cronies or cabals.

But publicly appointed boards, such as those I worked under the last half of my career, have their own set of challenges, especially as happened to several of the boards to which I answered, when an elected official or two deliberately pushed the appointment of a board member they hoped would undermine the organization from within.

What would lead a public official to do this?  Avarice.

Unfortunately, very little attention is paid in government to generating revenue, which many officials believe comes only by raising the rate of taxation.  Instead, they spend nearly all of their time focused on spending, or dividing up the pie or even worse shell games.

This is how elected officials or administrators can come to see the short term, such as eliminating the operating deficit on a facility that was always expected to run a deficit as more important than spending that amount on marketing the overall destination which would generate a return of six times that amount.

But short term thinking is not unique to elected governing boards.  It is the same strategic failure that forces many publicly traded companies to sacrifice long term value for short term payouts.

The authors of “Where Boards Fall Short” contend that board members must focus on long term strategy.  They further state that “what matters most is the quality and depth of the strategic conversations that take place.”

Unfortunately, being strategically inclined is rarely, if ever, given consideration when appointing members to governing boards probably because fewer than 14% of Americans are strategically inclined.

The word inclined is used because this is a talent, a propensity, more than a skill, making it difficult to learn or teach.  I suspect, when they are strategically inclined, CEOs spend far more than the 1% to 3% of the time most CEOs do on average with strategy.

Unfortunately, the same is probably true of many governing boards, where members arrive late, leave early and complain about prep time to read materials and reports prior to the meetings, let along delve into strategic conversations.

Appointing or electing governing board members is as great a responsibility as serving on one.  Here are a handful of important attributes to keep in mind:

  • 30% of the entire workforce in America is truly engaged.  Half just show up and go through the motions.  Nearly 20% are troublemakers.

Rarely is someone who is disengaged in other areas of their life going to suddenly become engaged as a member of a governing board.  Make being engaged a pre-requisite to appointment.

Beware of organizations who seek benchwarmers.  Appoint board members who are strategically inclined and who will be eager students of the organization’s mission and environment.

  • Recalibrate the size of governing boards.  Experts now believe the size of a non-profit board functions best with five members.  Poor governance increases with board size.
  • Appoint board members who reflect the values of the organizations.  If that is fund-raising, appoint fund-raisers.  If that is volunteerism, appoint activists.  If that is being information driven, appoint members who understand and appreciate analytics.
  • Appoint members who understand and embrace ethics and compliance not people who see ethics only as a boundary to be skirted.  There is a reason compliance is no longer housed in legal departments in corporations.

Most importantly, appoint people to governing boards who are or can be in synch with an organization’s culture, values and mission, who want to move it forward, not pull it back, and who know how to resist special interests including their own individual interests.

Monday, February 23, 2015

How Misinformation Becomes Worldview

I was stunned recently to hear two friends say (independently) that they believe groups like ISIS are representative of the views of Muslims in general.  But then, soon after, came the results of a Lifeway Research poll showing that 27% of Americans hold that view.

This includes nearly a third of men and half of evangelical pastors.  Fortunately, 43% of Americans including more than half of those between the ages of 18 and 34, grasp that “true Islam creates a peaceful society.”

It is a view held by only 23% of evangelical pastors, a fact made apparent when Franklin Graham, the son of Billy Graham, bullied Duke officials into calling off a plan for Muslin students use the otherwise ecumenical Duke Chapel for a call to prayer.

Is it just me or do some apples fall far,far from the tree?

The supposed rationale was because extremist Muslims persecute Christians, therefore we should retract our values, forgetting that extremist Puritans killed early Quakers here when the paint wasn’t even dry yet on the first settlements by Europeans.

It brought to mind the phrase, “God is great, beer is good and people are crazy!” (coined by country songwriter Troy Jones while thinking of three things most people wouldn’t argue with.)

On our quick trip back to the Pacific Northwest a week ago I was equally puzzled to hear one of my two sisters, while expressing joy that one of her preschool grandchildren already knows the pledge of allegiance, followed it with the qualifier, “especially now that it is prohibited in schools.”

I had to bite my tongue to keep from blurting, “Where did you ever get that idea?” But I already knew the answer.

I don’t believe that either of those viewpoints is remotely factual, but I shouldn’t have been so surprised.  During the last half of my now concluded four-decade career in community destination marketing, I became a student of how misinformation diffuses through populations.

Because negative or misinformation is so much more powerful that positive or factual information, this may be the most overlooked understanding in that profession.

My introduction, though, was in my early 20s while writing up some research I had conducted for an upper level folklore class at BYU, which documented how misinformation spreads through a society and begins to even contaminate news stories and public policy.

The research dealt with the propensity of people to take bits of information and project them to extreme conclusions.  To adapt words by Bill Moyer, this “harmonizes or re-harmonizes our lives from time to time” with our stories.

Often, as in the case of my research on some events that occurred in 1970, this can lead people to “inversed projection,” where people subconsciously rationalize a contradiction to their life view by painting themselves as the victim.

Thus, a few states giving schools and students the option for daily recitation of the pledge of allegiance becomes “prohibiting the pledge of allegiance.”

It is also how protecting a person’s religious freedom to skip repeating the words “under God” becomes rearticulated as taking religion out of schools, even though those words were not even added to the pledge until 1954, more than 60 years after it was written.

Forcing a minority (8%) to repeat those words is rationalized as somehow protecting religion, even though revered U.S. Presidents such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln preferred “Creator” to the word God.

From a community marketing standpoint, a clear understanding of information diffusion includes knowing where and when to interrupt feedback loops of misinformation, much as “deep brain stimulation implants” are used to interrupt tremors that cause feedback loops in people.

On our trip last week, I noticed how RDU International Airport is still enabling misinformation about the region of North Carolina where we live.

Even though the airport is located in Morrisville, midway between the destination co-owners of Durham and Raleigh, two distinct cities and metro areas that co-anchor a polycentric region, airport tenants are still being allowed to misinform the vast majority of travelers through the airport by suggesting the airport is in Raleigh.

Hertz shuttle buses are emblazoned Raleigh, the Starbucks shop offers only “Raleigh” mugs across from the newsstand that offers only Raleigh t-shirts.  Airline personnel on arrival and departure invariably use Raleigh repeatedly in announcements.

This will only be corrected when a critical mass of Raleigh officials, community leaders and airport authority members, as well as airport staff, speak up against the inequity and misinformation.

It is a true test of regionalism as a family of distinct communities that each has the other’s back.  Otherwise, regionalism is nothing more than a euphemism hegemony.

Until then, the airport is a huge enabler for diffusion of misinformation about this area, undermining visitor promotion, inconveniencing visitors, contributing to unnecessary commutes, misleading news editors, mischaracterizing geography and fostering favoritism.

The hyphenated name alone is cause enough for confusion as it was for a Jeopardy game show contestant last Thursday:

Question: This hyphenated city in North Carolina is home to Wake Forest University.
Answer: What is Raleigh-Durham?
WRONG! (Winston-Salem, the correct answer is the name of a hyphenated city.)

Raleigh-Durham is simply the name of a co-owned airport.  But it illustrates how misinformation can leap into mainstream use if not addressed.

Long ago, community marketing organizations and chambers of commerce through this vast polycentric area agreed on how airport tenants should brand RDU and the communities it serves but when presented to airport management it was vetoed along with a snide notation toward me that I wasn’t supposed to see.

As co-owners, Durham elected bodies and municipal management could easily demand that this be corrected, but they haven’t despite being nudged repeatedly by residents as influential as the late Dr. John Hope Franklin, nor have the Durham appointees to the airport authority.

Even under new management, misrepresentation of the airport and the region persists.  Fortunately, a small fraction of visitors to any community travel by air and this holds true for the dozens of communities served by RDU.

Even the majority of business travelers arrive via highway or rail.  But RDU’s complacency regarding tenant mischaracterization does impact an average of 26,000 people each day, half of whom are baffled and half of whom are either angry or oblivious.

Is it possible that Raleigh advocates are doing more than endorsing the misinformation by their silence?

Is it possible they otherwise consciously or unconsciously endorse the misinformation as a way to harmonize with their centric world view?  Unconsciously, are they rationalizing it by inversely projecting themselves somehow as being the victim?

Is the answer one that would enlighten us all as to why so many of us tolerate bigotry of other kinds, either by avoidance as Durham officials are doing with misrepresentation at the airport or passive-aggressiveness as Raleigh officials appear to do?

It makes me wonder, is mass deep brain stimulation the only option?