Vail Daily column: Not appropriate for front page of paper | VailDaily.com

Vail Daily column: Not appropriate for front page of paper

Brooks Keith
Valley Voices

During his 2005 confirmation hearings, our U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts compared his role as a judge to that of a baseball umpire, stating his judicial role was to call balls and strikes. Although my Sunday robes are white, not black, I feel that someone should pronounce last Friday’s Vail Daily cover page article regarding an in-depth and long-standing negotiation between the Eagle County Charter Academy and the Eagle County School District as far out of the strike zone.

I am not contesting or even commenting upon the very worthy issues raised in the article, and as a local pastor it is inappropriate for me to publicly endorse or oppose any particular candidate for elective office. I have confidence in our local school leaders, both salaried and volunteer, to address the educational challenges of our day in the best way they can.

Rather, I question the choice to place this one issue on the Daily’s front page, the Friday prior to a mail-ballot election, in the clear face of local, national and global news which impact our world. As I page through this Friday paper, and read other news sources, the selection of this one issue seems inappropriately partisan.

I read of the tragic injury to one of our children during Eagle Valley’s Homecoming Parade, our high school science students chosen for the impressive Steadman Philippon Research Institute¹s internship program and the successes of our local sports teams. We are watching American and Russian warplanes operate in a very cramped Middle Eastern theater of war for the first time since World War II. In that region so significant to world history entire communities of faith and priceless historical sites are literally disappearing through execution and wanton, senseless destruction. Refugee migration is straining the resources of the European Union during a period of profound self-examination for the Union’s member states. Our own government is caught up in the throes of self-identity as good people struggle to function in an ideological mosh-pit pitting deeply opposing governance paradigms against each other. Candidates in both major political parties vie to articulate the very real anger and disillusionment the American electorate feels toward our current political system of shallow gamesmanship triumphing over the common good.

With all of this as ample content for Friday’s front page, we instead receive an article and graphic depicting a long-standing negotiation between one school and our school district in which some very capable and committed school leaders, three of which happen to also be running for elective office to our county school board, are mentioned by name.

I believe we can all do better than this! If we are so quick to critique our national discourse for being so overtly politicized, then should we all not model a different way of participating in that same process here at home? Shall we not together better educate our kids by showing them a different way to discern local elective leadership than this? I believe that every educator, in every local school, whether public, private, charter, religious or sports-oriented, works sacrificially to bring the best education possible to our kids here in Eagle County. I am quite certain the folks at Eagle County Charter Academy are doing the same.

To quote our chief justice, “Foul ball!”

Father Brooks Keith lives in Edwards.

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