My mother-in-law came up to visit with us this Independence Day. She has lived in Colorado Springs for almost 40 years. Christa emigrated here from Germany in the early 1950’s from Germany. As a five year old girl she recalls hearing the sound of countless bombers droning overhead. All lights were darkened in a futile attempt to keep the allied planes from seeing their targets and bombing them into oblivion.
The sound of thousands of bombs whistling down on the place where she lived was something she will never forget. She never really knew her father, he disappeared in a Soviet prison camp, one of countless Wehtmacht soldiers lost on the Eastern Front in 1943. After the war, she recalled the kindness of American and British soldiers who often times provided her family with the only food they could find in a country ravaged by war.
She came to the states as a teen, fell in love with New York, and married a career Air Force sergeant. New York was the “Great White Way” thousands of lights so bright and so much different from the dark land she came from. America was a land of plenty, of freedom with a youthful, handsome young president whose wife was the envy of the world. Sure, there was the Cuban missile crisis, the Vietnam War, but she had her two children and a husband who would soon return from the war.
When the family moved to Colorado Springs in the late 60’s, it was still a small beautiful city of 40,000 or so. It was conservative, but also liberal in some ways too.
Over the years, the town became more conservative as large Christian organizations moved to the city to create as many would say “the Evangelical Vatican of the world.” As time went on, the beautiful little town grew by leaps and bounds with runaway sprawl and an Evangelical point of view that taxes are a bad thing and big government is evil.
My mother-in-law has come full circle now. She lives in a city so stripped of taxible income, it cannot even light its own streets. Yes, for $65.00 per month, the city will turn on her street light, but on a limited budget, that is a luxury for her. If there is criminal activity in her area, the shorthanded police might arrive if a crime is committed. Parks are turning brown, garbage is not picked up in parks, and gang activity is on the rise.
Meanwhile, those wealthy solid citizens of Colorado Springs, those who fight tax increases, who man the pulpits of the mega churches, the elite, live in safe, well lit areas….God Bless America!