Wednesday, August 26, 2015


In June of 2015, a Neligh resident created the We Support Neligh (WSN) campaign in "an effort to promote the town in a more positive light and unite residents."

First, some light reading on the subject:

Man buys 100 'We Support Neligh' signs in effort to unite the community

'Had Enough': Metschke Starts 'We Support Neligh' Campaign

WE SUPPORT NELIGH (Facebook page, first post 6-22-15)

WE SUPPORT NELIGH (Official page, created 6-23-15)

Man behind Neligh signs wants to unite community

Google Search: "Support Neligh" results

UPDATE: Recall Signatures Verified, Special Election Next Step

The reason for the campaign.

Nate Metschke, a Neligh resident, has indicated that his campaign began before the annexation of several properties along Highway 275 finished, and is unrelated to the issue. As the annexation issue predates the efforts to recall Neligh's mayor and four city council members (which appears to have been filed in response to the annexation issue), this would indicate that the campaign is also unrelated to the recall effort.

However, in a different news story, it is implied that the recall issue was itself the cause of the WSN campaign: 
The recall attempt of all City of Neligh elected officials has one resident saying enough is enough. And he doesn’t believe he’s the only one who feels that way.
Nate Metschke, who has lived in Neligh for nearly 15 years and is the music teacher at Neligh-Oakdale, said he’s embarrassed by recent behavior in the community and is taking a stand against the negativity. Metschke is asking other Neligh residents to join him in a “We Support Neligh” campaign in hopes “the real majority are heard loud and clear.”
Regardless of whether or not the WSN campaign was the result of Neligh's annexation and elected official recall issues, every news story and explanation of the campaign contains an inordinate number of words focusing on those very subjects. That, in and of itself, seems to say more than anything else regarding the connection between the WSN campaign and recent political issues in Neligh.

The campaign's goals.

The WSN campaign has two stated goals. The first goal is two promote the town in a more positive light.

The second goal of the campaign is to unite residents, and that's where--when combined with the first goal--the campaign (whether by accident or design) takes a decidedly coercive turn.

When genuinely obtained, unity is a powerful, harmonic force. If all the cars on a road are going the same speed and direction, traffic is smooth and efficient. When cars are told to go the same direction and speed but do not do so--a decent illustration of the difference between true and legislated unity--traffic is chaotic and stressful. True unity is a peaceful thing.

The unity sought by the WSN campaign, however, is not true unity. By calling for unity, the campaign is acknowledging that there are divisions within the community--after all, if divisions did not exist, it would be unnecessary to create a campaign that specifically calls for unity. The reason why the unity sought by the WSN campaign is less than genuine is because the campaign seeks unity without even attempting to reconcile any of the divisions that the campaign's very existence confirms.

Forcing unification without first reconciling differences is, at best, naive. There is no depth to that sort of unity. What it does is draw together those who already want to see campaign succeed in the first place--that being, those who were already united in their desire to have Neligh viewed in a positive light. This is, without a doubt, a majority of the town.

But by uniting the majority--who were already united anyway--without reconciling the divisions between the majority and their small-but-vocal group of opponents, the campaign only further alienates those in the latter group. This is why the claim that the campaign is unrelated to Neligh's annexation and recall issues seems so questionable: the timing of the campaign is either an incredible coincidence, or the campaign's true motivation is to compel those behind the recall efforts to either 1) fall in line with the majority or 2) risk being labeled as negative and divisive by standing against a campaign that holds itself up as being positive and unifying. In doing so, the campaign insults the efforts of those behind the recall effort by saying that they were being negative for the sake of negativity, rather than acknowledging that those behind the recall effort were exercising one of their few options to fight against an annexation that they believed was wrong.

So, in the end...

The WSN campaign may have been created with good intentions, but the timing of its creation suggests that it is very much related to the effort to recall elected officials in Neligh due to their decision to annex land outside of Neligh's city limits. Because that appears to be the case, and because the campaign fails to provide any sort of reconcilatory measures, the campaign will likely only expand the divisions between the majority in Neligh and those who oppose them. Differences and divisions must be dealt with before true unity can be achieved. The intention of the campaign may have been to unite, but its result may very well have the exact opposite effect.