Robert Knight

Just because the mountain air is thin at 7,800 feet and the New Age is evident in various ways doesn’t mean that Coloradans here have totally lost their sense of reality.

In Ouray, for example, a town that is arguably the most scenic in the nation (nickname: “the Switzerland of America”) the town council on July 15 adopted a moratorium on retail marijuana shops.

Colorado’s voters, who went for Barack Obama in 2012, also legalized possession and sales, but they left options to localities over whether to allow dope stores to open. In Ouray, voters will decide in 2014.

Elsewhere, petition drives led by three plumbers have put two state Democrat legislators on the ballot in a September recall election -- Senate President John Morse and Sen. Angela Giron. They are in the crosshairs for their support of a sweeping new gun control law in the Rocky Mountain State.

Also, another sign of relative conservatism is that you have to go into Denver and college towns like Boulder to encounter the plethora of Obama/Biden bumper stickers that are still ubiquitous in the Washington, D.C. area and other Democratic strongholds.

Out in the Colorado high country, where ranches stretch as far as the eye can see (Ralph Lauren has 17,000 acres, the Double RL Ranch, in the San Juan Mountains), an Obama bumper sticker would be about as welcome as a visit from a hungry grizzly bear. Oprah probably had one on her car when she came in 2011 to film a special on the ranch, but I didn’t see a single such sticker at the ranch rodeo last week in Montrose. There were some faded Romney stickers and a couple of “Don’t Tread on Me” license plate frames.

In many towns in Colorado, cowboy culture thrives alongside the New Age, which has crept in under cover of respect for Native Americans’ religion. Politically, they are miles apart.

I did see a couple of Obama stickers in nearby Ridgway, Ouray County’s other town. My guess is that they weren’t locals, but I could be wrong since there is New Age culture there, too. However, in Ridgway, where much of True Grit was filmed in 1969, John Wayne is still king. The Duke is on T-shirts, mugs, posters, you name it. The True Grit Café is across from a park where they shot the hanging scene.

Robert Knight

Robert Knight is an author, senior fellow for the American Civil Rights Union and a frequent contributor to Townhall.