Vail, in its broadest sense, is an internationally known and respected brand for outdoor recreation/beauty, music/dance, food/lodging, health/wellness, shopping, volunteer time/money for nonprofits, sustainability (Vail/Beaver Creek mountains and countywide promotion of the 3 R’s consumption rules), etc.. And let’s not forget feeding the mind — via great Vail Daily articles/letters, Vail Symposium, Vail Film Festival, Vail and other libraries and even opportunities to participate in our smaller local government proceedings (vs. being in the big city). Having said all that, I don’t think some of the raw ideology, frequently repetitious, letters submitted to the Vail Daily do us proud. Consider some of our guests come to the Vail Valley as a refuge from that sort of thing. So what’s do be done?
The Daily could organize point-counterpoint, left vs. right letters for current hot button topics. You don’t have to be a national newspaper to do so as the Pueblo Chieftain regularly prints these. The topics could include state or national issues, in addition to all-important local issues where things can actually be changed. The paper, in an “arms length” position, could solicit the public for topics and only provide general guidelines for sourcing and organizing information.
Or how about challenging writers to present balanced, both sides on an argument and encouraging reasoned responses? The letters are not easy to write — but doable. Recently I submitted a two-part series posing the question is it only with 20/20 hindsight that we can see things clearly about big national issues? One issue was the Great Recession, pointing out the origins spanned both the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations — in short there was enough blame to go around. A measured response in the Daily said in essence the Great Recession’s origins go back three administrations from Clinton to the Carter administration and the George W. Bush administration actually foresaw the impending crisis, but to no avail. Whether one agrees or disagrees, this rebuttal was great — showing an informed public that was willing to come forward.
So let’s have robust, “fair and balanced,” mutual-respect debate showing the world we are an intellectually alive and diverse community.