Does the letters page need more rules?
August 31, 2007
Dear Editor:I am fairly new to the Roaring Fork Valley. I relocated from another mountain resort community confronting similar issues as those facing Aspen. So I am somewhat conditioned to the passionate debate of citizens trying to cope with and solve the issues arising from growth and change. What I am most disheartened to witness here is the amount of vitriol and personal attacks I see in the letters to the editor that you choose to print.What has become quickly apparent to me is the number of very good and decent citizens who stay out of public debates because the risk of belittlement and insult is not worth it. This is also impacting the caliber of your political leadership. So the debates are being derailed by the malcontents and the “Rage Against The Machine” contingent.Case in point is the letter by Emzy Veazy III, Esq. that appeared in the Aug. 30 paper. Your decision to print this letter of hate and insult further incites hate and does nothing to encourage civilized debate on a very important issue. You are discouraging engagement from decent, level-headed people – people who could add a great deal of value to solving the problems facing Aspen. Unfortunately, their voices are marginalized in your paper when you choose to print opposing views from people who have no sense of decency and hide behind a perverted view of freedom of speech. The perpetuation of that perversion makes you part of the problem and not part of the solution.I would hope that you could adopt and encourage standards and rules of engagement so all voices could be heard without fear of unfair personal attacks. And please know that I am not one to jump up during a spirited debate and yell, “Why can’t we all just get along?”Paul CherrettBasalt