Value in anonymity
October 1, 2002
In Thursday’s Aspen Times, in regard to his various nom-de-plumes, Roger Marolt is quoted as saying, “Sometimes you can’t express what you really feel. In a small town, you’ve got your job and your family and your livelihood to protect.”
Coincidentally, on the same day, I was looking up an online article in The Star, one of the largest circulation newspapers in South Africa, and discovered that among the letters to the editor, two were listed as being from “anonymous.”
Over the last several years, Common Sense Alliance has provided an outlet for members of the community who care deeply, and wish to participate, but fear various reprisals for the public knowledge of their political beliefs.
I have heard from business owners afraid of alienating some portion of their clientele, individuals wishing to avoid poisoning their work environment, and even one person trying to keep peace with their spouse.
For every person who seems to either not mind, or absolutely relish, being squarely planted in the middle of the most recent controversy, there are another six who feel they must abstain from any involvement.
The various means of intimidation designed to exclude certain people, professions, socio-economic strata and viewpoints from the discussion of matters of public interest are practiced with a vengeance in Aspen and Pitkin County, and nobody has done more to expose that fact than Roger Marolt.
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The people who are angry with Roger are reacting to the fact they got their noses tweaked. They were caught taking themselves and their beliefs too seriously, and lashing out in blind rage in an abject demonstration of exactly why many feel the need to remain anonymous.
Most people are not willing, or have not considered, using the evasive tactics employed by Roger to place their ideas and concerns into the public arena, and instead simply decline to participate. That is not a healthy circumstance for this or any other community.
The solution to the problem is not to give everyone even further reason to avoid the potential for public ridicule by thrashing Roger Marolt. The solution is for the local newspapers to accept anonymous letters, as long as they make no specific reference to any other private citizens.
I encourage the newspapers in the valley to reconsider their policy on anonymous letters.
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