Time for civil disobedience | AspenTimes.com

Time for civil disobedience

In the course of this great nation’s history individuals have periodically risen up with heroic acts of civil disobedience against tyrannical governments that ignore the will of the people.

Basalt town officials obviously continue to ignore widespread opposition to the ignorant decision they selfishly made to choke traffic through their town center.

I have spent enough time around Basalt to hear and entertain the arguments and ideas of the town “selling out to New Basalt”; how “Old Basalt” residents have been driven out and seldom hang out anymore in a town they view as becoming sanitized, yuppified, homogenized.

As someone who has sat smack dab in the middle between “Old” Basalt and “New” Basalt for the past 12 years, I have seen all the change, which has sometimes created exciting opportunity and sometimes taken away something that will never come back.

It doesn’t take a genius to realize that a similar spirit of compromise must exist for the intersection to work: we can (and must) have parallel parking AND we can (and must) have turn lanes to keep traffic moving. There’s no reason we can’t have both.

Perhaps the argument that the Basalt Town Council is too busy selling its soul to listen to its constituency has some merit. If so, perhaps one way to get them to listen is to refuse to sit in traffic jams in order to spend your money in their town center.

If they continue to ignore us, perhaps another way to get their attention is through uniting all the disparate elements and personalities in town with Basalt’s own Boston Tea Party act of civil disobedience.

Maybe it will be the real estate agent in his Humvee or his second-home buyer in his Range Rover who, in their rush to make their appointment, will finally put their SUV to a use it was intended for and take out a row of posts at the infamous elephant ears.

Or maybe it will be a flyfishing guide in his old Suburban, in his rush to get a spot on the Fryingpan, who will liberate us by running them over. Maybe it will be his wife, running late in her Subaru, who decides to plow through the turn lane in order to drop her kids off at school on time.

As someone who has been squeezed out by the unaffordability of Basalt the past few years, however, I’m putting my money on the crusty “Old” Basaltine, who, after a long hot day of driving nails and driving through the idiots camping in the left lane on Highway 82 (another example of government officials making something work less efficiently), realizing he still has 26 miles to get home to Thomasville, invoking the spirits of Bobby Dunn, gravel sidewalks and the Midland Bar, crushes the posts to splinters under the tires of his ’76 Ford pickup truck and leaves them scattered in a cloud of his dust at Basalt Town Hall on his way up the Pan.

Whoever you are, please step forward, make your elected officials listen, and unite the unique and diverse community that you are a part of. I’m sure that I am not the only one who will donate to your bail fund if you are caught. Maybe Keith will even keep a fund for you at his office – Stryker would have.

David E. Johnson


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