The Corner

Ann Arbor vs. Boulder

Every once in a while, I make fun of my lefty hometown, Ann Arbor, Mich. I don’t do this too often. No more than twice a day, as a rule.

In 2010, I wrote a blogpost about Ann Arbor and a sister city. Let me paste:

One of Ann Arbor’s sister cities is Juigalpa, Nicaragua. Ann Arbor formed this relationship in 1986. Why? Because the Sandinista dictatorship was in power, and the Reagan administration was doing all it could to undermine it. And it was important for Ann Arbor to express solidarity with the dictatorship, and solidarity against the Reagan administration.

A U.S. diplomat sent me a letter, telling me what it was like to deal with an Ann Arbor “peace” delegation at the embassy in Managua. I printed that letter in the post I’ve linked to, and quoted from. I ended the post, “I wonder what the next Ann Arbor sister city will be. Some hamlet in Waziristan?”

You may ask why I’m dredging up all this now. Good question. Here is a story about Boulder, Colo., which is a sort of Ann Arbor of the West. Boulder is experiencing a bit of a controversy: because some want to form a sister-city relationship with a city on the West Bank, Nablus. (I’m pleased this is controversial, rather than a slam dunk.)

I’ve checked Ann Arbor’s list. No sister city in either the West Bank or Gaza. Shocking. Ann Arbor does have a sister city in Cuba! Boulder does too.

I envision a kind of competition. Neither one has Iran or North Korea covered, which I consider imperialist, ethnocentric, and, of course, racist.

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