Vail Daily’s Don Rogers: Our duty to speak up
May 3, 2012
Thank God — OK, the Constitution — for the First Amendment.
I believe America is only the home of the free because of it. I would think that, of course, considering my career choice.
We’re free of Sharia or Santorum-favored governance on faith. We enjoy freedom of and from religion because of the First Amendment, at less cost in blood than other societies have had to endure. There is no American Taliban.
And columnists in these pages can commit what polite society might consider blasphemous.
That is, express their sometimes strong views on religion and politics, speaking of asking for trouble.
Eagle’s new Trustee Brandi Resa ran right into this recently when the Town Board majority sought to place a muzzle on her.
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How could she dare write without the full board’s permission? Why, there oughta be a law. …
Brandi and I couldn’t disagree more about Eagle’s big issue of the moment, Eagle River Station. I think the town’s residents would be absolute fools to pass up their opportunity. Brandi believes they’d be complete fools to fall for it.
I get to annoy her and her friends by expressing support for the development, even if I have the “wrong” views, don’t have their understanding of the “facts,” and all that.
And, well, she gets to do the same with me … and her colleagues on the Eagle Town Board if she wants.
Frankly, I wish she had more company among the leaders and advocates in our community. We’d be a better place, in my view.
I understand why speaking so publicly remains rare despite our rights. People criticize you. And I suspect that politicians in particular don’t like to be quite so known as they would be by writing regularly.
Or it might be a matter of confidence. I’m maybe too comfortable sometimes writing what I think. Out of stark stage fright, I’m much more prudent speaking to audiences. Others — Joe Biden comes to mind — could stand to consider their words a little better as they fly out their mouths in such public settings.
That’s a different issue than the constitutional rights to make absolute fools ourselves if we want.
We’re such a better community because we each can speak up, at least. I’d argue that we’d be even healthier if we all did. I even believe this goes past “right” clear to a civic responsibility to say what we think.
Alas, though, we also have that right to remain silent. That’s the one we exercise way too much.
Editor and Publisher Don Rogers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 970-748-2920.