Gaylord Guenin: Mr. President, got time to lend Aspen a hand? |

Gaylord Guenin: Mr. President, got time to lend Aspen a hand?

Gaylord Guenin
Aspen Times Weekly

It goes without saying, although I am going to say it anyway, that our new head of state, President Obama, has an endless store of problems to deal with in the days, weeks, months and even years to come. He can thank George W., our former compassionate-warrior president, for most of the mess. W. appointed an army of hopeless political hacks to key administrative positions where they insisted on ignoring common sense and creative thinking (and even scientific fact) and blundered along clinging to questionable ideologies.

President Obama, however, appears to be anything but a political hack. He has recruited a huge group of experienced advisors to guide him through the garbage dump left behind by George W., “Mr. Mission Accomplished” himself.

I hesitate to go forward with this, realizing that the President is going to be busy as hell, but I voted for him and believe it is my right as a citizen to interrupt his schedule with one tiny request. Maybe he could see fit to loan Aspen a few members of his new brain trust to resolve the infamous “entrance to Aspen” question. Our little town certainly has been unable to come to grips with what appears to be a rather straightforward problem.

We live in a valley stuffed with creative, innovative and even brilliant individuals, many of whom were leaders in an endless number of diverse fields, and we can’t figure out a practical way to bring traffic into the city. What the hell is going on? Maybe someone should just go to Goggle and see if they can’t come up with an answer. The entrance to Aspen thing is getting embarrassing. Equally embarrassing is the fact that my request to President Obama pretty much runs counter to his expressed desire for Americans to stand up and begin working on their own problems. I’m asking for the government to help, but maybe I’m just an old-school liberal.

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I avoid going into Aspen with the same determination that W. avoided science, so it doesn’t make much difference to me how Aspen decides to funnel traffic into town. But it is difficult not to feel sorry for all those working stiffs who are forced to rise extra early in the morning just so they can make it to work in time and then after work to be forced to sit in traffic that means they probably won’t make it home in time for dinner.

It is a shame so much bickering surrounds the entrance to Aspen issue because the longer the battle continues, the more serious the traffic problems will become. Each side can make a reasonably strong case for their position and offer up valid arguments (in their minds at least) against the other side.

Realizing this is nothing more than a micro-problem compared with all of the difficulties facing President Obama, it still seemed appropriate to call on him for help. It seems obvious that the good people of Aspen are completely mired in a contentious swamp dominated by egos and anger but little in the way of rational thinking or discussion.

And while President Obama’s team is looking into the entrance question, the members might want to take a peak at Aspen Lift One Master Plan. That is something that could keep Aspenites snarling at one another well into the next decade.

And we can’t mention President Obama without thinking about his historic inauguration on Jan. 20. As with millions of other citizens, I wasn’t about to miss this occasion, if only to watch it on television. I began watching at 9 a.m. and figured I would listen to his inauguration speech and then do other things around my cabin. That was not to be ” at 3 p.m. I finally turned away from the set.

I realized as I watched events unfold on the tube that I was anticipating something “significant” happening. What I had to keep reminding myself was that everything I was seeing was “significant.” The first black man was being sworn in as the president of the United States of America and an estimated 2 million people were on the National Mall in Washington, D.C,. to view the event. I’m certain I have never heard the word “historic” used as many times by as many people as I did that day.

And while I sat and watched history unfolding in front of me, while I tried to take in all of the pomp and ceremony, I couldn’t help but think of a pair of Woody Creek neighbors who are now gone: Ed Bradley and Hunter S. Thompson.

Both were astute observers of our nation’s political scene and I would have given anything to sit in Dr. Thompson’s infamous kitchen once again and listen to them evaluate what had transpired. My imagination is simply not active enough to try to guess what insights into that historic day that they would have offered up. All I can assume is that it would have been an enlightening occasion. Who knows, they might even have tossed out a solution for Aspen’s entrance problem.

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