A balmy gust swept over us while the constable proceeded with the opening ceremony. A bacchanal arena of revelers laughed and quaffed while the children frolicked about on a most beautiful summer day. An older couple danced to the lonesome ballads of a cowboy, declaring their undying love for one and all to behold. Exotic birds mingled amongst plump magpies without any static or friction. A crate of fresh peaches sat on the corner. Local farmers and artisans lined the main thoroughfare to sell and trade their goods.

This tableau vivant perfectly captures the idyllic glory of Heppner, a small country town nestled betwixt rolling hills and green pastures on every horizon.

In awe, I’ve often called this landscape “God’s country” for its natural splendor.

It is truly spectacular for a community to have its own market, something some might even see as utopian socialism or at least some sense of a collective gestalt.

Whenever I hear someone say “It takes a village,” I want to remind them that is the very nature of socialism. Whenever I see a town come together to support its high school football games, I am inclined to remind them that is also socialism. If a family issues a GoFundMe to raise donations for hospital bills they are unable to afford, that too is socialism. Even the Pledge of Allegiance was written by a socialist and any form of teamwork can easily be construed as socialism. Just as Alexander Dumas asserted in The Three Musketeers: “One for all, and all for one!”

But when a community flourishes with its own market, we can safely surmise that socialism and capitalism are not mutually exclusive since they clearly coexist side by side. Bound to forever ponder, I’m left to wonder still: How can socialism be such a bad word in a community that stands together, comes together in all sorts of weather?

Chad DeFalco


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