Hurtful gossip has no place in Aspen BOE election | AspenTimes.com
YOUR AD HERE »

Hurtful gossip has no place in Aspen BOE election

If you’ve ever been hurt by malicious gossip, you can relate to the gut-punch Anna Zane experienced after being targeted by a nasty email campaign for wanting to bring her extensive experience and consensus-building skills to Aspen’s school board. When the email chain hit my inbox, its easy-to-refute, vicious fabrications about my friend took my breath away.

So, I replied to the emailers, refuting their baseless claims and asking why they cast Anna as villainous. I urged them to contemplate this parable: Seeking redemption, a gossiper asked his rabbi how he could make amends. Told to scatter in the wind and then retrieve all a pillow’s feathers, the gossiper exclaimed, “impossible!” The rabbi responded, “Precisely, just as it is to repair the damage caused by your words.”

To the credit of one offender, I received a response acknowledging — and later apologizing for — the error in not asking questions of Anna before sharing the email.



In fact, all isn’t fair in love and war….and elections. Thomas Jefferson said, “Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government.” So, spreading outright lies not only undermines trust, it erodes mutual understanding, community relations, social solidarity … and friendships.

In his recent Real Time monologue, Bill Maher mentioned a taxi-driver from Sarajevo’s “war-torn hellscape” who told him that what’s happening in America is “what I saw in Bosnia – next-door neighbors who despise each other,” prompting Maher to conclude, “hate on this level can only be sustained for so long before becoming actual war.”




As I wrote the emailers, America is human history’s greatest experiment as the only multiracial, “multi-label,” self-critical democracy that hasn’t — yet! — descended into tribal chaos. How do we keep it that way while addressing society’s biggest problems?

We can start by listening to our nature’s better angels – don’t spread malicious gossip!

Melanie Sturm

Aspen


Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Aspen and Snowmass Village make the Aspen Times’ work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.

 

Letter to the Editor

A better future for Glenwood’s landfill

In 2019, in a bid for Glenwood Springs City Council, I studied both Glenwood and Pitkin County landfills in an effort to heighten awareness around composting food waste and extending the lifespan of the landfill.…



See more