A leader for Basalt
Years ago, after my parents were divorced and it became clear that Glenn Rappaport would be playing an increasingly important role in my life, I gave him a run for his money. On a chairlift ride, Glenn began some friendly banter, trying to break the ice that had taken the place of my smile. I turned to him and said, in that haughty way so perfected by 6-year-olds, “I don’t feel like talking right now. Thank you.” Glenn simply nodded and silently agreed. He let me be, to reflect and understand for myself the changes that were happening around me. He didn’t try to do anything.
I am not sure exactly when the word “politics” became vaguely synonymous with polarized, extreme and dramatically dueling monologues. In spite of myself, I have come to expect political races to be strange and entertaining caricatures of “real people” with unreal and rigid moral codes. It has become about action: what a particular candidate stands for, does, plans to do and will never do. Hardly ever do you hear about a candidate who really wants to listen – probably because they are not the loudest voice in the room. It’s hard to talk and listen at the same time.
What Glenn offered to me all those years ago on the chairlift, and continues to offer, is space. He has never tried to change my mind or sit me down to teach me anything outright. I have learned from Glenn’s silence, from his mental flexibility, from his eagerness to ask questions rather than make statements. As my parent, he let me make all kinds of mistakes, knowing that I had the capacity and the personal responsibility to learn from them. As my friend, he gave me the privilege of experiencing his never-ending enthusiasm for hearing something new.
The word “politic” can be defined as “sagacious, wise or prudent.” I like to think of a political candidate as I would a friend: Are they overbearing, obnoxious and always trying to tell you about what you should do? Or do they sit, smiling across the table, laugh at your jokes when they might not be funny and give you advice when you really don’t know which way to go? A true leader should be someone who empowers people to find their own way. They should offer cohesion and balance and be a touchstone of curiosity. Glenn has been, and continues to be, all of these things to me; he already represents these things to so many people in Basalt.
If we want someone who entertains all ideas rather than simply rejecting those he doesn’t like, we should vote for Glenn. If we want someone who nurtures our best ideas, who works to help the town change and adapt, and who listens more than he talks, we should choose Glenn on April 3. But whether or not he is honored with the title of “mayor” on paper, Glenn will always be a sagacious leader. He can’t really help it.
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It’s that time of year — hikers and mountain bikers must be aware that seasonal closures are taking effect on multiple trails in the area today for the winter for the benefit of wildlife.