Loving the West

There are plenty of reasons not to love it, starting with colonization and the eradication of the great bison herds, but there are also many things to admire: How ranchers have preserved open space, the live-and-let-live practicality that made Wyoming and Colorado the first states to give women the right to vote, that same spirit which made the Centennial State the sixth in the nation to legalize civil unions (nine other states allow same-sex marriage). There are times when things seem so hide-bound out here in the land-locked American heartland, and then there are times like this year, when the legislature acts to make in-state tuition available to undocumented young people, that it's possible to see the spark of hope, ambition and grit that settled these harsh lands.

Anyway, here are some things to love about today's West:



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