Culture war debate lands in Vail Valley
VAIL – The popular thinking goes that, as a nation, we’re almost as divided now as we were during the Civil War. It’s all “red” versus “blue” states, liberals versus conservatives and the Christian right versus the secular, pro-choice set. But is it all so black-and-white? That’s the question being posed at this year’s Vail Valley Institute seminar titled, “America Divided: Are the Culture Wars For Real?” A series of talks and informal discussions slated for June 23-26 at Sonnenalp Resort in Vail, this year’s seminar represents the 14th meeting of the minds held by the Institute. “I’m a big believer in lifetime learning,” said Melissa Decker, executive director of the Institute. “Too often today, people say public policy issues don’t affect them. But this topic, it most definitely affects everyone.”David Brooks, a former editor of the conservative Weekly Standard who now pens a right-leaning column for the New York Times, will speak Friday night, June 24. Those attending, Decker said, will have an opportunity to mingle with Brooks and other speakers over the course of the weekend.Talk isn’t cheap in this case: It costs $1,750 per person to attend the seminar; $3,000 per couple. On the other hand, it’s not often Vail Valley residents get a chance to hob-knob with the likes of Brooks and other speakers Arianna Huffington, Thomas Frank and Morris Fiorina. Huffington is a left-leaning columnist and author known for her fiery rhetoric; Frank is author of “What’s the Matter With Kansas? How Conservatives Won the Heart of America”; and Fiorina is a sociology professor from Stanford.”His take is there isn’t a culture war, that it’s just the partisans who are polarized,” Decker said, referring to Fiorina’s book “Culture War? The Myth of a Polarized America.”The Vail Valley Institute will offer some free tuitions to area students and teachers. Decker said the steep price for others has a lot to do with the cost of speakers and the intimate nature of the gathering.”It’s a small group setting with really close contact with some of the people shaping the debate,” she said.Alex Miller can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 615, or firstname.lastname@example.org.Vail Daily, Vail, CO
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