The mountain mandate | VailDaily.com

The mountain mandate

Matt Zalaznick

I am declaring a mountain mandate. A clear-and-present mandate for local left-wing columnists and all the Democrats in Eagle County. Because 5.3 of every 10 of us voted Kerry-Edwards last month. And because two out of county’s three commissioners are from Blue America. That 1,200-vote margin of John Kerry’s victory in Eagle County means commentary writers, letter writers and even anonymous Tipsline callers have a powerful majority of the readers in the valley behind them when they advocate unrestrained stem-cell research, the legalization of medical marijuana, a spectrum of social programs and the rights of homosexuals to marry.The one-third-of-a-citizen edge means Eagle County is now against the war in Iraq, against the intrusion of religion into everyday government, against the intrusion of the Patriot Act into everyday life, and against any future anti-abortion nominees to the Supreme Court. We have public opinion overwhelmingly behind us when we become nauseated by the formerly impeachment-crazed Republicans in the House of Representatives fumigating their own ethics code to protect their pugnacious little Texas exterminator from a reputation-infesting indictment.More of your neighbors waiting in line at Starbucks are looking forward to seeing Tom DeLay get his comeuppance, just like that barking Dixiecrat Trent Lott did. Of course, before a majority of us could relish the great white dope’s self-immolation on the pike of old-school intolerance, W. rained a Bill Frist-bomb on the parade. Maybe Trent wasn’t so bad? Still, the poll numbers are on our side – the First Amendment still might have a chance of being approved in our insulated mountain redoubt. We can still criticize the commander-in-chief in a time of war. We can be against the Vietnam hill fight-like frivolity of the invasion of Fallujah and still support the troops, especially all the troops who weren’t posted to Abu Ghraib. We can even see the similiarites between Vietnam and Operation Iraqi Freedom lurking beneath the incomparable – at least on our side – death tolls. While Ho Chi Minh was the local hero Saddam was not, America’s masters of war have rumbled into Baghdad to prop up a regime of dubious legitimacy (as it did in South Vietnam), allow stockpiles of weapons to be plundered (as it did in South Vietnam) and woefully misunderstand the mindset and culture of the people it means to liberate. A key part of that mindset – in Tikrit, Najaf, Khe Sanh and My Lai – is a traditional aversion to having an imperial power drop bombs on the local neighborhoods. We can be honest with ourselves that invading and terrifying a country is a poor way to win over the natives. Plus, we can still despise deeply the al-Qaida killers who assassinated a contrarian Dutch filmmaker and be suspicious about our new secretary of homeland security who once worked for the Saudi royal family. Seems Officer Bernie once had a job protecting the hospitals of this freedom-loving regime whose record of fighting Islamic fanaticism is so stellar nobody in Bush-land will talk about it. Yes, in the deep blue High Country, we even can still suggest Uncle Sam deservesat least some of the blame in this new age of terrorism. We can do this because more people than don’t, from Vail to Dotsero and up the beautiful road to Bond and McCoy, subscribe to these worldviews. But maybe we shouldn’t gloat or wield our majority so arrogantly because there’s still 4.7 in every 10 of us who think W. is a great leader with magnificent ideas. And maybe we shouldn’t consider such a narrow win such as vast endorsement. I mean, it’s possible, four years from now, things could be the other way around. Eagle County just might, by a similar margin, choose Rudy Giuliani over Hillary Clinton, or Bill Frist over Barack Obama, and turn red again. If that happened, wouldn’t it be outrageous if the Republicans, here and in the capital, started acting like everybody agreed with them and their ideas simply because one-third-of-a-citizen more gave them their vote?City Editor Matt Zalaznick can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 606, or mzalaznick@vaildaily.com