Letter: Let’s be the solution

Something recently has been troubling me. The criticisms in the Aspen Power Plant debate have become personal, going so far as to impugn the personal integrity of David Cook and others. There simply is no place in our town for personal attacks as they undermine what makes Aspen so very special: our sense of community and trust.

Let’s review David Cook. David grew up with nothing handed to him. He earned everything with grit, determination and a firm commitment to the American ideal. As luxury chains have displaced local businesses, David has committed himself to entrepreneurship, building channel 82, a local media company broadcasting Aspen to the world while hiring local employees and paying local taxes. More than that, David is a devoted father to a wonderful daughter who is being educated in our local school system. He and his wife give back — leading nonprofits and community initiatives from Aspen Cares to Jazz Aspen Snowmass, the Historical Society to Aspen NextGen. David is kind, wise, adventurous, athletic and a loyal friend. He is the guy you call first. And he shows up. He embodies the Give First mentality and heart-centered existence that we so value in this town.

A city is a rare, beautiful and precariously balanced artifice built on the notion that we are all in this together, that we believe in one another, that we have each other’s backs and that when we disagree, we can do so respectfully. We don’t always get our way, and that’s OK, because it is not about me; it is about we — a collective that is more important than each individual.

Unfounded and unsupported personal attacks break that contract; they allow water to seep into the foundation. There is enough ugliness on the national stage today. Let us not mimic that behavior. Let us rise above it.

There is room in Aspen for discourse. And disagreement. If you believe someone has truly harmed our town with their actions, bring forth an evidence-based response. Identify the action that person took, how it made you feel and its effect on you or the community. Then, exercise good faith by giving that person a chance to rectify their actions.

The national conversation has become toxic. Please, do not let that happen in our town. Let’s set an example. Let’s be bigger, better, more compassionate. I pledge to you this: As I move forward with my efforts in the pubic space, I promise to treat everyone with respect, to listen first, to offer the benefit of the doubt, and to confront constructively and openly. I will surely fall short, and when I do, I promise to own up and work to get better, publicly and clearly. I know David believes this. Let’s be better together; let’s live the Aspen Idea and not just talk about it. Let’s be a solution to our national problems, together — an Aspen Solution.

Skippy Mesirow