Yes, I do get asked “Is my small town the only one that is this messed up?” The answer is no, you are not alone. We all wonder about it. We all think we must have the most messed up small town anywhere.
We deal with some part of the continuum of bad behavior:
- hidden agendas
- public agendas
- ax grinding
- illegal actions
- yelling and screaming
- and yes, even the occasional death threat.
My own grandmother endured death threats while teaching reading in a small town. Reading!
No, you are not alone. The truth is, no matter how bad your small town is messed up, there are others just as bad or worse. Do I really need to tell you about the towns where the new resident started an anonymous blog publishing horrific attacks on town leaders? Or the one where the mayor locked the town board members out of the town hall? Or the one where the law had to be called to attend council meetings? Or … you get the idea. You know more examples, too. But that isn’t the part that matters. What matters is the solution.
There’s only one way out.
You have to go around them. You may even have to back up and try a completely different route, but you have to go around them.
If you’re going through hell, keep going.
In Texas, I heard about two towns in the same county who are still harboring animosity, bordering on physical hostility, from things that happened more than 100 years ago. The local guys told me over and over how it just wasn’t possible to do anything with that other town.
But… it seems there is a successful brew pub in one town, and a just-getting-started brew pub in the other town. And the two pub owners have been talking, sharing ideas with each other, and generally treating each other like human beings. Which shouldn’t be possible given the town-wide animosity.
Those two brew pub owners are the example. Follow their lead.
Find other like minded people, and work together. Leave the hostile people, or the antagonistic people, or the CAVE people, to do their own thing. And you do your own thing, even if it’s only a little thing at first. It will grow from there.
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Becky started Small Biz Survival in 2006 to share rural business and community building stories and ideas with other small town business people. She and her husband have a small cattle ranch and are lifelong entrepreneurs. Becky is an international speaker on small business and rural topics.