Busting Chops in the Best Big City

Money magazine’s recent rating of Colorado Springs as America’s Best Big City was like Christmas in July for city boosters. But it left plenty of other people laughing their asses off. For starters, how can anyone honestly believe that this city of 369,800, is big?

The city’s daily newspaper, for one. As the Gazette proudly noted in a July 18 news story about the designation, “Gen. William Jackson Palmer’s little prairie town is all grown up.” In determining the bestest places in the country to live, Money factored “a range of financial, housing, educational, health, weather, leisure and quality-of-life issues.” Not considered, apparently, was the political climate of the place, where the culture wars are a’raging. And you can get a pretty good sampling of the friction just by reading, well, the Gazette. Here are a few of the anonymous reader responses that were posted after the story appeared:

“Too many goose stepping George W. Bush Republicans (as apposed to the the Republicans that were represented by Ronald Reagan). Too many fanatical Charles Manson-like religious groups like Focus on the Family.”

And this:

“This is not high on the quality of places live because the US is way down that list. And this is a high cost area, poor school systems, shopping is extremly poor, and the politics are terrible. So, this is not a garden spot for some.”

The discussion inevitably degenerated into personal attacks, like in this exchange:

“If this is the best – dang!! I’d hate to be in the worst city. This city is like a beautiful woman who is ugly on the inside. Once you get to know her – you see what she’s really like.”

To which some other guy responded:

“People make up a city, like someone else said, if you bring a bad attitude to it you will get a bad response from it. Just as people make the church it is the same for the city. The Beautiful woman analogy; she may have been beautiful before she met you, did you think, it may be you that made her ugly on the inside.”

Ouch. The discussion further spiraled into an argument over the superiority of European cities – which resulted in a healthy round of Europe-bashing, including this little ditty: “The Europeans are spineless, wish-e-washy [sic] useless leeches on the face of this planet. But that’s OK because they all will be totally Muslim in the next 20 years and we will be done with them.”

Lordy. The good news is, when the shouting gets too deafening, you can always leave Colorado Springs, drive 133 north, and be in what Money listed as the best overall place to live in America: Fort Collins. “Great schools, low crime, good jobs in a high-tech economy and a fantastic outdoor life…”

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Cara Degette

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