Unfair attack on Sturm
June 29, 2011
When my good friend Melanie Sturm told me she had been invited to write a bi-monthly column for The Aspen Times, to provide a conservative viewpoint on both local and national issues, I had two reactions: At first I thought this is really refreshing to know that conservative opinion – even in a single column once every two weeks – was still welcome in some quarters in Pitkin County. On reflection, however, I asked Melanie if she really wanted this headache.
In addition to the uncompensated time and effort (she was adamant that any compensation be donated to a local nonprofit), I had seen and heard enough strident voices on the left in our community to know that sooner or later someone would attack her for no other reason than expressing her First Amendment freedoms. Melanie also assured me that in keeping with her personality and democratic ideals, her column would always take the high road, offering her readers a chance to simply pause, reason and “think again” about conservative principles and problem-solving.
Well, as it turns out, Melanie’s columns have been extremely refreshing, drawing more praise and commentary than any other opinion pieces in the paper. She has also stuck to her ideals and provided respectful, factual and thoughtful observations about current events. Sadly, however, my concerns about the intolerance of some in our community have also been borne out.
On Monday, June 27, Scott Miller wrote a letter in the Times that not only criticized the paper for providing a forum for a single, bi-monthly conservative viewpoint, he went much further and leveled some very inaccurate and mean-spirited personal attacks on Melanie and her father, a Denver-based businessman.
Apparently in Mr. Miller’s world there is no room for a difference of opinion and personally successful individuals should have no voice in offering solutions to our country’s problems. In fact, it seems he would silence the most energetic, innovative and skilled problem-solvers among us based on a nonsensical notion that their success is an impediment to understanding the needs of our diverse community.
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I sincerely hope the Times is not deterred in its support for Melanie Sturm’s column by this single, narrow-minded voice – and that the editorial staff will “think again” before giving space to ugly, personal attacks. In the meantime, I strongly suggest that Mr. Miller “think again” about his intolerance and penchant for name calling. If he can’t overcome his intolerance, at least he might consider some more accurate ways of describing the Sturm family.
Those of us who know them best would more likely call them entrepreneurs, job creators, philanthropists, civic leaders and good neighbors.