Jack Johnson and the American flag | AspenTimes.com
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Jack Johnson and the American flag

Dear Editor:”Let us vote and then let us shut up,” county commissioner candidate Jack Johnson admonished the public in Tuesday night’s election method work session.Jack disdainfully expressed his anti-democratic contempt for citizen dissent. Purportedly speaking on the instant run-off voting (IRV) issue, Jack’s comments warned citizens who may dare speak in favor of the traditional run-off elections, claiming us to be “big-money interests,” “cynical exploiters of the political process,” and corrupt. As the father of Aspen’s IRV, which replaced the runoff system, he rather surprisingly claims that “there is absolutely no distinction” between IRV and the traditional run-off! Ironically, he went on to insist that supporters of the traditional run-off are “willing to say or do anything,” and are “obstructing the public’s will.”As Jack labeled me “a big fat loser” in his letter to the editor last June, he made it clear that I should not continue to question the election process, and that good citizens should disapprove of my efforts. His message threatens any citizen who may question our government – a message that citizens must reject. We must refuse to kowtow.Jack decries the ongoing election process improvement review as “obsessive examination of crazy claims,” and “a smokescreen” created only by people who are unhappy with the election results. Look only as far as Harvie Branscomb in El Jebel, who is helping lead the charge with his considerable knowledge and neutrality concerning the election outcome. Jack counts Harvie, the co-chair to Eagle County Democrats and a member of the election canvass board, among the unwelcome “few and the loud,” who speak up about election transparency. Jack’s repeated public proclamations that nationally known experts like Harvie and others who have weighed in are making “crazy claims,” and should be ignored, only serves to signal that there are indeed issues meriting review. As I watched Jack make his remarks, the American flag which stands in council chambers was also in my line of sight. I considered how Jack’s diatribe against dissenting citizens is antithetical to the symbolism in that flag. But his right to say “citizens, shut up” is also inherent in those broad stripes and bright stars. Perhaps Jack’s views on citizen engagement should be examined in his upcoming campaign for public office.Sadly, none of our public officials expressed displeasure with those harsh positions. In fact, Mick thanked Jack for those remarks! Where are the leaders who respond by honoring Jack’s right to his opinion, but make a clear statement to the public that they disagree? No official said to the public, “We do not ask you to shut up, we encourage your opinions.” The message is that indeed only the “few and the loud” will defy “community discipline” and speak up. You may see Jack’s comments and our leaders’ silence for yourself on the city website at http://aspenpitkin.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=3&clip_id=244 , starting 56 minutes into the recording.Marilyn MarksAspen


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