You see, this town more or less lives and dies by one central corporation, and the corporation lives and dies by the man in charge.
This town, to me, seems like it's run by Melaleuca.
Melaleuca is a MLM business centered on tea-tree oil, and all-natural eco-friendly products. Think of it like a 'greener' Amway. Well, it's based in this town, and it plays as the cornerstone of the local economy.
The man in charge is Frank Vandersloot. Depending on who you ask, he is one of the most loved (or reviled) men in this town.
Well, the local baseball team plays at Melaleuca Field.
The annual fireworks show is sponsored by Melaleuca (and they like to remind you as often as possible).
Most of the top radio stations in the area are owned by Mr. V.
Melaleuca buys full-page spreads in the local paper whenever they wish to share their message with the world.
In recent elections, Melaleuca bought ad time on television and radio to make fun of the candidates they didn't like, even though some major bending of the rules were made (link, and it's a doozie)
I guess when you have the money, you can more or less make the rules. You don't like the kind of music they're playing on the radio? Buy the radio stations.
Don't agree with a development project? Spend as much money as you need to in order to thwart your opponents.
It goes into the "If I had enough money to do whatever I want, what would I do?" mentality. Would I try to have the entire community under MY thumb like he appears to be doing? I don't know.
I personally don't like the company because I don't like the guy who is running it. If you want to be influential in your community, there are more noble ways of doing it than buying as much of the town as you can. I have my religious and political beliefs too, but if I had millions to burn I still wouldn't impose my values on others as Mr. V seems to do.
If I were sponsoring events, sports teams, or just being philanthropic in general, I wouldn't do it with such a "LOOK AT ME, AREN'T I GENEROUS???" attitude.
It's almost like they want you to worship them. Oh glorious and generous Melaleuca, if I pray to you will you provide? If I drink your koolaid, will you shelter me? Death to the non-believers!!
I'm spouting off my opinions to you in a way he does to others, but I'm not simply saying "believe what I say because I'm saying it." Look at this piece from a local news station, and see if he gives you bad vibes as well...
Don't sue me, oh righteous and all-powerful Melaleuca. I'm poor.
So this 4th, I'm not sure what I want to do. Sure, fireworks are nice, but by watching the show I feel like I'm supporting the Evil Empire, or validating their causes by showing them I appreciate it when they 'give back to the community.' In my eyes, those fireworks come with a price, and not just the Chinese child-labor factories from whence they came.