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Such a clatter

Oh the response to Michael Cacioppo’s new column here Friday. Such the clatter.In flew e-mails, fast, and furious from some, while others were well pleased. Conversations in person and on the phone had the same tenor. For those with an ideological bent, the lefties grumped mightily about a right-wing rag going even further the wrong way. And the true right-wingers huffed that it was about time such a pinko commie paper finally got some decent conservative viewpoints in.I’d lump the reaction into three roughly equal camps: Those appalled at the very thought. Those who feel the loss of Speakout, Cacioppo’s political weekly that espoused his at-times pungent conservative views. And those who smirked and remarked, “Well, this ought to be interesting. Great coup!”Well, it is interesting. Each week on Fridays, Michael promises to pick apart our coverage and views. I hope he keeps the same humor he showed in his first column while, you bet, holding our toes to the fire.I’m sure he’ll come across every bit as repugnant to some readers as Matt Zalaznick’s yeasty liberal columns are to others.I’m also sure that at least occasionally the reader less fueled by partisanship will observe, “You know, Michael is right about this.” The lefties don’t like to hear this. But that’s a sentiment that was indeed expressed more often than they liked during Speakout’s time.For me, that fence-sitting, pot-stirring, always-itching-for-a-row editor, you bet, I couldn’t be more pleased to add Cacioppo’s voice to these pages.Yes, I’m guilty. More people will be compelled to read the commentary section as a result. Gosh, more discussion about the issues large and small of the day. Whatever could we be thinking?Which is the real point. I’m less interested in the highbrow nonsense about what should be said on these pages, what opinions people here should have, who should be allowed to opine, and the whole name of protecting the citadel of the should. It’s basically bunk, frankly. What we need to talk about falls squarely into the what is. How about we deal with that, the reality – with the fullest range of voices we can find – and the most civic participation we can muster? Sure, feelings get hurt, people say what they shouldn’t, they indeed have the wrong views. But let’s air them and deal with them openly and straight up rather than pretending they don’t exist.Let’s share our views – great, petty, right, left – and take on the gusty challenges of disagreement. This is the fertile ground where the truth can grow and become sturdy. Not the wispy, ethereal, arid, wimpy landscapes where comment is circumsized and bends or breaks in a faint breeze.Don’t worry, you don’t have to agree. You can turn the page, or choose to stay away, if the idea of different views is such an anathema. But I know that interest overall in this section has soared over the past handful of years. And that those who so thoroughly despise regular-people comment forums like Tipsline and Wisdom from the Web somehow can cite word for word what they claim they never read.And they’ll not read Cacioppo, too. Oh, yeah. But Mike is not the only voice we are adding to the mix. One weakness in the lineup, since I can’t convince the women on our staff to write columns as often as the boys, is we’re light on female voices here. Kaye Ferry has been our lone regular female columnist, but she’s about to have company.Elizabeth H. Chicoine, who wrote “Mom Matters” for the Vail Trail, has her first column for us scheduled to run Saturday. Her pieces will run weekly. Look for “Our own March of the Penguins.” I think you’ll get a kick out of it, particularly if you are a parent of young children.No, I don’t know whether Chicoine will be perceived as left, right, center or out of this world. Sigh, that’s up to you. I just know she’ll bring a compelling new voice to these pages. Very different when Michael’s, to be sure. But every bit as valuable and I hope as much an igniter of discussion about our life together as a community in the Vail Valley.Managing Editor Don Rogers can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 600, or editor@vaildaily.comVail Colorado


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