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Our View: Plenty of reasons to be thankful

It has been a hard year. If there’s one thing we can all agree on in 2020, it’s definitely that.

But in the midst of all the difficult news, from coronavirus cases surging, the economy lagging and our stress levels rising, there is still plenty for which to be thankful as we celebrate Thanksgiving this year.

For one, look around. We all hit the cosmic lottery to live in such a stunningly beautiful place with so much open space to roam. That’s why so many city dwellers have recently relocated to Eagle County full-time or why so many second-home owners have extended their stays.

It’s incredibly easy to socially distance in this picturesque valley we get to call home. Be thankful that you can walk right out your front door and get right into nature in just seconds.

Speaking of getting outside, be thankful that both of our local mountains have opened successfully and that resort employees and those working in all three resort villages are working hard to ensure a safe experience across the board.

We’ve been out on the mountains for Opening Day at Vail and Beaver Creek and we found employees repeatedly, politely reminding guests to keep their masks on — all the way over their noses — and keeping skiers and riders spaced out.

That effort is what is going to help us keep these resorts open for a ski season that we all need in the worst way.

Be thankful that we’ve managed to keep schools open and kids in classrooms up until now. We’re grateful for the teachers, support staff, administrators, bus drivers, food workers, cleaning staffs and volunteers who have been out there every day making our schools as safe as possible and ensuring the best learning experience for our kids.

We’re also grateful for all workers on the front lines who’ve kept this valley open — restaurant workers, retail and grocery workers, hair cutters and mechanics, plumbers and baristas, valets and cleaners and too many more to name.

You’re all essential workers, and your hard work doesn’t go unnoticed by those of us who are afforded the luxury of doing our jobs from home.

We also could not be more grateful that Eagle County now has a robust system to help people with the mental health challenges that COVID-19 has brought with it. Two years ago, that wasn’t the case. Eagle Valley Behavioral Health couldn’t have emerged at a more important time, and we’re grateful to all the behavioral health specialists and organizations, including first responders and law enforcement officers, who are working to help those struggling to cope through this crisis.

We’re also grateful for our health care workers — doctors, nurses, administrative and support staff. They see this virus up close every day. We’re lucky to have a hospital system and health care network that has deftly navigated this crisis by constantly working to come up with solutions for faster, more robust testing and extra beds and stockpiles of PPE to avoid the ghastly war-time triage that other hospitals have seen.

We’re also grateful for leadership from our elected officials, public health officials and business leaders. It’s downright refreshing, given the state of politics in this country. They’ve been proactive in communicating both good news and bad news and have worked together to navigate this crisis. In the toughest of positions, they have responded with honesty and integrity.

Also, is there a more generous place on the planet? We’re grateful for the community organizations that have come together to tirelessly support those in need. And we’re thankful for this community coming together to support local businesses that have been hit hard.

It’s those local businesses, of which we’re one, that are the backbone of this community.

We live in a remarkable place. For the most part, as a valley, we’ve been able to put aside our differences and come together — while at a distance — to come up with creative solutions to get us through.

Lastly, we’re grateful to you, our readers, who have relied upon us to deliver the news and have pushed us to tell the essential stories that matter to this community in a time of great need. You’ve made us better and, as always, we’re here to serve you.

Have a great Thanksgiving.

The Vail Daily Editorial Board is Publisher Mark Wurzer, Editor Nate Peterson, Assistant Editor Ross Leonhart, Digital Engagement Editor Sean Naylor, Business Editor Scott Miller, Eagle Valley Enterprise Editor Pam Boyd and Advertising Director Holli Snyder.


Sheldon: How did we get here, America?

I got a message tonight from a friend who has been supportive of my writings and political leanings. She suggested, in attempt to seek healing for our nation, that I lose some of my anger, that I return to civility. I think she was right.

Like most of us, on either side of any political aisles (hate that term but can’t think of a better one), I am perplexed, concerned, disappointed and embarrassed with what is happening in our country.

Tonight, I read 70% of Republicans believe our election was a fraud. That is a lot of millions of Americans who place more stock in the musings of one man than they do in their fellow hundreds of millions of American citizens. This morning I read that our president, after losing both legal challenges and recounts, is resorting to plan C: Bringing Republican state legislators to D.C. to strong arm them into believing and acting upon his conspiracy theories and false claims. Claims not only unproven, but now disproven. Today I can add that after being refuted by these lawmakers in Michigan he is attempting the same tactic with Pennsylvania lawmakers.

I have always followed a business maxim I learned years ago: 98% of the people you deal with are good people and only 1-2% are bad. So, I ask, how do approximately 45 million Americans believe one man over pretty much everyone else? How can hundreds of millions of your neighbors, friends, elected officials, plumbers, doctors, scientists, business owners, students, military and intelligence personnel, journalists, pundits, bandits and full wits all be wrong? And only Donald Trump, right?

Recently, a formerly respected mayor claiming that Venezuela’s Hugo Chaves orchestrated our fraudulent election with George Soros. By the way, Hugo has been dead for seven years.

He claimed the entire state of Michigan’s votes should be thrown out because he said someone saw a food truck with ballots in it. No pictures, no proof, just “hey this person said he saw no food in the food truck.”

His cohort told us through tears at the same press conference that democrats developed voting machines with the help of communists that were programmed to count only Democrat votes and switch Republican votes. Yet these machines, made in Denver Colorado, were used in states where Trump won handily. And, again, no proof of this claim.

This election also gave us newly elected representatives in Congress who believe the Clintons drank the blood of children in a pizza parlor basement, only there is no proof. Hell, there is not even a basement in this pizza joint. It would be humorous to read this in Mad Magazine, only this conspiracy theory is also believed by millions of Americans. And these people won election by supporting these claims. And the president has done all he can to not refute these falsehoods.

How did we get here, America? If Trump is merely the symptom, then what is the disease? Where has common sense and rational thinking gone? Under the gaslight would be my guess.

History has seen this before and mankind has suffered. Yet we made the same mistakes. Allowing our free press to be maligned. Asking no substantiation of facts. Holding no one accountable. Having elected legislators fail to stand up and do the right thing.

For eight years now, we have watched a man with no proof or verification spout lies only to tell us tomorrow he will show us the proof. Yet tomorrow has never come with this man.

Where is the proof Obama was not born in the United States? Where is the proof he won the popular election in 2016? Where is the proof his campaign was spied upon by Obama? Where are his promised tax returns? And where oh where is all this proof of election fraud? Trump recently claimed that Georgia’s hand recount was fake. Seriously? Fake?

Please tell me again why you believe a historical conman, cheat, 7-thousand-fold civil litigant/defendant and philanderer about anything? Because you wanted to believe he would drain the swamp? Let me clue you in: there are swamp people everywhere, in every profession and in every corner. But they are the 2%, not the 98%. The swamp in D.C. is no worse than the swamp anywhere else in American life.

I believe his message is what millions of Americans wanted to hear. What they wanted to believe. The fantasy that all politicians are bad. The belief that the American system is rigged against our life blood: common Americans. That all our problems, all our ills, all our woes could be blamed on one political party. And that America could be great again if we would only place all our unrequited love on one man. Like the Wizard from Oz, an awful lot of us fell for a charade. But there really is no boogeyman to blame everything on.

Here is what I think. I think America can be great again if we get back to what made us great. Intelligence, hard work, acceptance, diversity, kindness, self-reliance and democracy. And faith. Faith in each other and faith in those who lead us. We put these officials in office by vote and we can take them out by vote.

The election must stand, and it must stop being questioned with false claims.

We need to believe each other and in each other. And in our democratic process. Your neighbor is not a bad person because they stand on the other side of the abortion issue. Or the tax or health care issue. Or because they vote for people who have liberal or conservative views like they do. Or because they pray at a different church, temple or mosque.

Unfortunately, we have been manipulated too long America. The last four years have been the climax. It is time for this play’s major action to see some resolution. And conclude in reuniting our country. In the end we will reclaim our dignity and respect for each other and our country. Ultimately, America has always been about us.

Steve Sheldon is an Eagle resident.