Guest Column: There’s a ditch on both sides

RBC | I have fun childhood memories of my grandparents’ ranch. They didn’t have livestock —unless you count the extremely obnoxious Appaloosas who would swipe your soda and suck it down in three seconds flat—but they had all the other essentials. Rusty trucks, barbed wire, endless hay bales and yards and yards of duct tape and baling twine holding it all together.

Caitlin Walker

The thing I remember most, though, is the irrigation ditch that snaked its way through the property.
We were taught from an early age that ditches are extremely dangerous. At some point, years and years before, a child had drowned in the ditch, and my mom was terrified that we’d ignore all reason and go for a dip anyway. (Rightly so. My relatively short stint as a parent has taught me children are the antithesis of all things common sense.)
Her repeated warnings worked well, but the assurance from Grandpa that the ditch was full of liquefied cow pies worked better.
There were several bridges across, ranging in difficulty from casual stroll to FEAR FACTOR level (remember that show?), but my least favorite was one made of about 30 rusty pipes laid across two beams. They weren’t welded in place and would roll like a conveyor belt as you walked (or army-crawled, crying and screaming) across.
I’m sure you’ve heard the “ditch on both sides” analogy plenty, but I always imagine the high road more like this bridge than a wide easy path. Slippery, slithery and strung over a dangerous ditch of misinformation and bias.
The atrocious slanted journalism of our era has made the ditch deeper and swifter than ever before. If we’re not diligent about maintaining our footing firmly in truth, we can easily be swept away.
Most people these days, it seems, are content to forego the bridge altogether and jump headlong into, well, a steaming morass of liquefied manure.
It’s difficult, time-consuming and often terrifying to commit to the truth, to be accountable for your belief system and its maintenance, to shift with new information.
It’s possible, though.
And if we’re going to create a world we want our children to grow up in, it’s crucial.

Caitlin Walker is a co-owner of Solas Publications, Inc., and works as graphic designer and production manager for the Herald Times, Adventure Colorado magazine and the Northwestern Colorado Hunting Guide.