*Note: This audio essay first aired on KRCC (Colorado Springs’ NPR affiliate, 91.5 FM) on October 8, 2020. The link to the program is here; the audio file and the text from the essay are below.


Legendary science-fiction author Robert Heinlein (who wrote “Starship Troopers”) once lived near the Broadmoor on Mesa Avenue. In 1952, he wrote and read an audio essay for Edward R. Murrow’s “This I Believe” radio series.

Heinlein’s talk was called “Our Noble, Essential Decency,” but it was really about his noble and decent neighbors, right here in the Pikes Peak region.

“I believe in my neighbors,” Heinlein said, because, “I know their faults, and I know that their virtues far outweigh their faults.”

Heinlein made me think about what I’ve seen in my own life.

We’re drawn here by what can be seen, and we choose to stay by what’s unseen.

We talk endlessly about red rocks and infinite trails, but we too often forget our neighbors.

Heinlein also said, “I believe in my townspeople. You can knock on any door and in our town, say ‘I’m hungry,’ and you’ll be fed.”

As he put it, the decency of those around us can be “so obvious that it has gone out of style to mention them.”

But we should.

For one, we’re crazy about our neighbors. They’re not perfect, at all, and they never will be (neither are we, of course)—but they’re kind, decent, and generous.

From a distance they might seem to fit certain straitjacketed stereotypes, but up close and personal, those fall apart and what’s left is just another small group of human beings trying to do some good in the world as best they’re able.

Be good, be well, be better to someone today than they expect. Until next week, no matter what, climb on.

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