The old union song implores the workers to pick their side. The Bank of the West forced the same choice on the people of Moffat County, Colorado, except this time, the bank stood for social justice and played the role of J.H. Blair.
The reverberations arising from Bank of the West’s recent social media post are still echoing across Moffat County, and with each passing day, it appears more and more likely that the future may not be all that bright for the institution, at least not in Moffat County.
Readers will no doubt recall that, last week, Bank of the West proclaimed in a Facebook post it will no longer do business with industries that support tobacco, coal, fracking, or Arctic drilling.
The industries hated by the woke. Not without reason, necessarily, but from their comfortable distance close to oceans, left and right. And the Bank of the West, whether because banks have suddenly grown a conscious or came to realize that pandering to social justice mobs might be good PR and keep them from being hated.
But in Moffat County, the joy of woke Brooklyn hipsters wasn’t getting the love.
Moffat County’s response to the post was swift, decisive, and, in certain cases, brutal. Many residents — some of whom acknowledged having been Bank of the West customers for years — said they would immediately close their accounts; one respondent even vowed he’d put his money in a jar and bury it in the backyard before he’d do business with the beleaguered bank.
The people who live in Moffat County aren’t bad people. They’re people. They love their kids and have great hopes for their futures. They come home from a hard day’s work and want to enjoy dinner, some family time and a good night’s sleep. They go to church on Sunday and turn out for parades on big national holidays. Well, not being from Moffat County, at least I assume they do, as that’s how most ordinary people are. And there’s nothing wrong with being people.
And they are pissed.
Following are examples of what we’ve observed so far.
- The original Facebook declaration prompted Bank of the West Craig Branch Manager and Vice President Stacy Razzano to announce she would resign her position of 27 years, effective Aug. 17.
- During the subsequent weekend, we heard several reports that other local banks had been deluged with people last Friday, all clambering to open new accounts.
- On Tuesday, the Moffat County Board of County Commissioners announced the county — doubtless among the branch’s largest depositors — is taking steps to close its accounts and do its business elsewhere.
These are pretty extreme reactions — and we wholeheartedly support every one of them.
The problem is that Bank of the West’s glorious social justice acquiescence may play well at cocktail parties in Los Angeles, but comes at the expense of the lives of the people of Moffat County. You see, they survive on coal.
The coal industry built this community, and the coal industry is what allows this community to continue. Our family members, our friends, and our neighbors are coal miners, and in most Moffat County households, coal is what puts food on the table and gasoline in the tank.
What’s more, coal is a way of life here in Northwest Colorado. It’s a time-honored and noble line of work, and in many families, working in the mines is a proud tradition that’s been passed from father to son for generations.
You disagree? You have a laundry list of problems with coal, with the environment, with health and safety? You applaud the actions of Bank of the West? That’s adorable, but you aren’t putting food on their table, and their kids, like most kids, like to eat every single day. Yes, they’re “privileged” to be coal miners, unlike you marginalized Ivy League grad students.
And that last part is perhaps at the crux of what we find so offensive about the message. Honestly, we’ve had just about enough of being told by corporate interests that coal is somehow evil and that, by extracting it from the ground, we are also evil — that we’re a bunch of greedy, morally bankrupt ingrates who care nothing for the environment or the future of our planet.
Well, that’s simply not true, and, frankly, we resent the implication.
Does this shock you, that the people you hate, call deplorable or worse (much worse), are so very evil that you dedicate your lives to destroying theirs, don’t think you’re totally wonderful in return? They don’t care about your platitudes, your jargon, your critical theory and sad tears when someone uses a microaggression like “the most qualified person should get the job.” They care about their families. Their neighbors. Their children.
The point is, Bank of the West has publicly proclaimed it will no longer support us, so we see no reason for us to continue supporting Bank of the West.
And the points is much larger than Bank of the West. Your simplistic, existential theories of good and evil, right and wrong, espoused by twitter slacktivists of marginal grasp have real life implications for other people. People you don’t know, but are certain you hate because they must be awful or they would be just like you.
The people in Moffat County really don’t give a damn about your feelings, your causes, your dreams of Utopia, just as you don’t care about their intersectionality, where coal mining meets hunger.
They’re the workers. Bank of the West, and social justice warriors, are the new “thugs for J.H. Blair.” Which side are you on?