Vail Daily letter: Texas insulted again
Bob Rule, of Houston, in a letter to the Vail Daily (“Insulting to Texas,” Monday’s Vail Daily) expresses his displeasure with the paper for a front page headline the day before which “seemed to celebrate the decline in gasoline prices.” Rule thinks the paper’s headline is insulting to Texans who directly or indirectly profit from higher oil prices. In his estimation publishing that headline “insults a primary tourist client base” and fails to appreciate the fact that it is the oil industry that “provides the dollars for Texans to be able to travel to the Vail Valley and buy second homes here.”
Rule is right about one thing: Texans certainly do represent an important tourist base for the Vail Valley. Anyone looking at the number of Texas license plates on cars parked in the village can readily attest to that. Only cars with Colorado plates on them are more numerous. But Texans aren’t the only large and significant tourist population vacationing in Vail. What about all the Mexican families who fill our streets, restaurants, concert theaters and slopes in both winters and summers? Don’t the dollars they spend here also contribute to the Vail economy? Do you think they would rejoice if the Vail Daily took a more pro-Texas oil industry point of view and cheered increased airfares driven by a rise in oil prices ?
And how about all the tourists coming from the Midwest and East driving across I-70 and making Vail and the Colorado mountains a destination stop on their vacations? Would higher gasoline prices make it more likely that they could afford to come here? Or the numerous second-home owners living here like myself who also happen to own and run their own businesses? Do you think an increase in energy prices would make us happier?
I think it’s OK to favor your own personal financial interests over the economic interests of others. If I worked in the oil and gas industry or if my stock portfolio was heavily weighted with energy stocks I certainly would be rooting for higher oil and gas prices. That’s called enlightened self-interest. But I wouldn’t be surprised or insulted or offended if the people putting gas in their cars or paying to heat their homes or purchasing airline tickets to travel somewhere disagreed with me. That’s called conflicting self-interests.
I’ve met too many wonderful Texas families over my 15 years in Vail to think that Mr. Rule’s opinions reflects either theirs or the majority of Texans who warmly contribute to the vitality of the valley by coming to vacation or live here. Some of them were in the oil and gas industry and most assuredly wanted oil prices to rise. But none of them were myopic in their thinking, selfish in their societal attitude or boorish in their behavior as was Mr. Rule.
I don’t think the Vail Daily owes anyone from Texas an apology for showing bias towards lower oil prices. I do think that Mr Rule owes his fellow Texans an apology for representing them so poorly and inaccurately in print. They do have a right to be insulted for they are far wiser, kinder and fairer than him.