Roger Marolt: Roger This |

Roger Marolt: Roger This

Roger Marolt
The Aspen Times
Aspen CO Colorado

The wheels on the bus go round and round (in opposite directions).

The wheels on each side of a car turn in opposite directions. It’s true, and one time in my younger days when I thought it was necessary to always be correct in matters of the car, I had an argument with a good friend over this. He claimed that when a car moves forward all wheels spin forward and I claimed that the ones on the driver’s side turn counter-clockwise while on the passenger side they turn clockwise. I said you could prove my argument by simple observation. He claimed the same. Thus the argument was never settled, even though I am certainly correct, and we have swapped automobile tire rotation with sex as one of the three things not to bring up in polite company.

Notwithstanding, I bring it up today as a lead-in to talk about local politics, which is hardly ever polite. As with the automobile, the wheels on the left side of the political machine have to spin counter-clockwise while the wheels on the right side spin clockwise for it to make forward progress.

Of course wheels and politicos can’t see that the wheels on the other side of the vehicle have to turn in the opposite direction or else stall. The difference is that wheels on the car ignore their own ignorance and do their jobs as efficiently as they can.

In contrast, the nitpicking and bickering for this May’s election seems to have begun even before the last election ended. The big wheels on the right side of the machine are spinning at about 4,000 R.P.M. (Road signs Per Mile). You know that people are seriously deprived of sunshine, fresh air and a general zest for finding joy in this earthly paradise when they launch a political campaign aimed solely against one man (or so they say, which we will discuss in a minute) and in favor of absolutely anybody else. Mind you, they don’t have an alternative candidate; they just don’t like Mayor Mick … strike that. They hate Mick. This is a campaign based on hatred. How lovely. But, that’s Liz biz.

Perhaps before election time rolls around, Moammar Gadhafi will be an available, experienced and viable alternative they can throw their support behind, but for now it looks like they’ll have to settle for Andrew Kole. It will be interesting to see how long that marriage of convenience lasts.

About the only thing I find interesting about Liz Milias and her Cheesy Wiz smear campaign is that they claim to only have their moldering socks balled up in the hamper over Mick. But what about the more than half the town that has supported him for more than a decade? I suppose this political action committee hates that majority, too, but how could they ever admit it: “We hate most of Aspen!” I don’t think it would fly.

On the left side of the machine, the wheel we know as Mick will continue to turn as it has for a long time. Yes, the big Wheel was once prone to getting out of balance and causing some serious vibration and rattling now and then, but as the tread has worn smoother over all those miles, it hasn’t been much of a problem lately.

The big thing with Mick’s spin is that it was perfect for a real estate economy that was booming and a local population that was threatening to expand like foot fungus in a rental ski boot. No matter how restrictive the building code was in the doo-dah days, the lure of big profits was so powerful that developers were willing to grind through the onerous process. That isn’t true today. Mick’s showing in May will answer one huge question: How short is the town’s memory? Or more simply stated, is Aspen better off now than it was in 2007?

A novel development in this election is a candidate who claims he won’t spin at all. His name is Scott Writer and I’ll call him the differential. It sounds like he wants to keep harmony between the oppositely spinning wheels.

He says that he’ll try not to spend a dime campaigning. He is only going to invest his own time. He’s not going to put up any signs, print any bumper stickers or hand out silly buttons. He’s smart enough to know that running against Mick is an all-or-nothing proposition, so he’s running for city council instead, where he can have an equal say on all matters just the same. He has even promised restraint against perching himself on the City’s curbs holding a giant name-tag to his breast with one hand while waving at traffic with the other. The dude is dripping with mellowness and kindness. If he can stick to this, I’m sold. It’s a breath of fresh air and I don’t care if it blows in from the north, south, east or west.

The bottom line is that the right wheels must spin one way and the left wheels the other for us to move ahead. Not only is it futile to try to get all the wheels spinning the same way, it’s foolish. Then we just wear out the drive train (that’s you and me). The way the machine works best is for all wheels to turn their natural way and arrive wherever they are going together.

Embrace the process. No matter how painful it has seemed at times, it is hard to argue with the results we have here.