Personal essay: Bob Knudsen talks about Rural Urban Divide, moving from Denver to New York

By Bob Knudsen

As one of the editors of Rural Urban Divide, it seems fitting that I do an essay of my own explaining who I am and what my views are. After all, that’s what I’m asking others to do, so it only seems fair. Also, I enjoy talking about myself, so that’s fun too.

I grew up in the Denver area, and spent most of my childhood in the diverse suburb of Aurora, while also spending a fair amount of my days on my grandparents’ farm in eastern Colorado. Having lived along the Front Range of Colorado my entire life, I caught the bug for wanderlust and took a 48 state road trip by myself in 2015. It was at this time that I realized how truly different the people of our country view the world, but I also realized that our values, for the most part, were still similar at heart. I then opted to move to New York City to experience a different way of life, and have future plans to do the same in various places around the nation.

Traversing the redwoods in my Subaru, Buttercup

Following this, the 2016 election highlighted the gulf that has been developing between those of us who follow certain beliefs and those who follow others. To be sure, our political system, while supporting only two major parties currently, seems to split us between Democrats and Republicans, the reality is that there is more division between regions and environment than there is between the parties. With the rancor around the election, this idea grew and ways to bridge this gap seemed daunting.

While we at The Rural Urban Divide have no illusions that we are going to completely change the conversation and mend our fences, we would like to at least be a part of the solution. My personal belief is that trying to understand one another rather than to vilify those we see as different with invectives and slurs, we can at least hope to influence some people to at least be open to other viewpoints. Sure, there are issues that there is little middle ground on, but it’s much easier to find it if you understand why those you disagree with believe how they do.

Downtown Manhattan from Battery Park

Those who know me may think me an unlikely candidate for such an undertaking. I grew up in a very religious and conservative household, and was a Republican for my early adult life. However, my views on some issues, especially social issues and foreign policy, changed over the years, and I found myself more and more drifting away from the two major parties. I now vote third-party in most elections, primarily Libertarian, though I do occasionally vote for both Democrats and Republicans on a case-by-case basis.

When it comes to the issues, I can’t in good conscience support the GOP thanks to their general opposition to what I view as individual liberty issues. Same sex marriage, transgender rights, and racial issues in particular are problematic for me with the Republican Party.

At the same time, I have never felt an affinity for the Democratic Party. I am strongly pro-Second Amendment and religious liberty, and the Democratic views on economic issues tend toward protectionism and regulation that I believe favors large corporations at the expense of small business and workers.

Enjoying a beer with an old friend

That isn’t to say that I am a fan of everything the Libertarians believe either. Excessive individualism has led to a highly anthropocentric viewpoint that is highly problematic for the environment, especially when it comes to fossil fuels and climate change issues, not to mention removing environmental protections for wilderness areas. They also favor deregulation to an extent that would lead too far toward corporatism and end in monopolies or oligopolies for a few large companies.

Having said all of that, this site is a place for all viewpoints, so you will not see much editorializing outside of articles written from my viewpoint. We want to welcome all Americans to the Rural Urban Divide for constructive conversations.


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