Sharing the love
Camy Britt’s letter last week was “Right On.” Carbondale IS a great place to live for the vibes and events! We also have the Carbondale Nature Park, great cross-country skiing at Spring Gulch, and all of our outdoor COVID-safe activities. We are all in this together and are looking forward to gathering this summer. Thanks for reminding us, Camy. We all hope to see you and your bike around town soon.
Clear as night and day
Full sun and half moon
Share the sky on either side
Changing of the guard
Response to Steve Campbell
Your letter rankled me for a couple of reasons, and I felt compelled to respond.
First, at risk of sounding like a jerk, your letter reads like a t-shirt slogan at best, but maybe more accurately as a forgettable tweet. With the exception of the local genius who writes us lovely haikus from time to time, this is a forum where folks stretch out and care is taken in the act of putting thought into word.
Second, you aim out, at us, your readers, when you tell us that in wearing a mask, we’re showing our submission. But you don’t know me, sir. You don’t know most people. Certainly you don’t believe you’re going to change anybody’s mind with a letter like that. Who honestly believes anyone can change someone’s mind about anything at this point? It seems you’re content to just fire shots into the crowd, telling us how you’re right about something. That’s just rude.
Finally and perhaps most importantly, your sharp tone implies a fundamental misunderstanding about the nature of submission. It’s pretty clear you think submission is for the weak and the stupid. I offer to you that we are discerning, thoughtful people who wear masks not only for our own protection, but in hope that we don’t inadvertently spread a highly contagious and concerning disease to people who may not survive it. We submit our personal desire for comfort to the good of the whole. We submit to the simple truth that we don’t know as much as the world’s experts in virology and infectious disease.
Submission is everywhere, inherent in the human condition. We submit to being alive on earth in a fragile and imperfect body that’s dying by the minute, to the fact that being alive is lonely and scary sometimes, and sometimes so painfully wonderful that you never want it to end. We submit to the flaws in our character that come from places so deep inside us they seem impossible to reach. In our finer moments, we submit to the Christ impulse that compels us not to amass, but distribute; not to argue but to empathize; not to dig in, but to wander and to wonder.
If you don’t see what you’ve submitted yourself to in fear of wearing a mask, I don’t feel any need to point it out to you. It’s there for you to discover if you’ll only be so bold as to look.
What it boils down to, Mr. Campbell, is that if you have thoughts about what I’m doing, how I’m living my life or why I wear a mask, you can ask me about it. Failing that, I humbly request you please keep those thoughts to yourself, or put them on twitter, where, like the rest of everybody’s unasked-for opinions, they can be summarily ignored.
Freedom of Speech and Responsibilities of Public Office
The ‘rally’ of ‘Stay Free Colorado’ involved a dereliction of duty. First Amendment rights are broad but are not unlimited and not extended to overt danger of others and advocacy of imminent lawless action.
When our elected officials took the stage to host and speak out at a rally which advocated anti-vaccine information; unsubstantiated information regarding the COVID-19 virus origin and spread; and anti-public health measures, they crossed the line from freedom of speech to failure to uphold their elected duty. Mr. Vallario can believe that certain laws are unconstitutional and dangerous. However he has sworn to uphold those laws, which are deemed constitutional until the courts, not individuals, decide that they are not legal. Officially standing on a platform that implies that there is a right to ignore such laws and giving credence to the denial of public health directives is a dereliction of duty. Mr. Jankovsky may have personal beliefs regarding the origin of a virus. However, to publicly endorse unsubstantiated claims, to stand with a mask denier and minimizer of the pandemic danger, to stand by a claim that “the land of the free, home of the brave” does not have a role in protecting public health, is irresponsible as an official chosen to represent all of the electorate. To disparage science and expertise is dangerous and irresponsible as official policy. Individual rights are different when you are an elected official and can incite and endorse imminent lawless action.
The pandemic is real, it is deadly, it spreads easily. Masking and distancing and certain restrictions help to control its spread and save lives and save medical expense and health care burdens. These are not personal choice options, they are requirements to protect the public health and general welfare.
It is dangerous to the rights, freedom and safety of all if we do not speak out against official sanction of dangerous falsehoods and conspiracy-based theories. Freedom of speech is both a right and a responsibility. Elected officials should be working for solutions not arguments. Let’s do so responsibly. The event on Saturday did not do so.
46 and counting
46 and counting Presidential fiats , in Tsar Joseph’s first 17 days in power. And Dems called Trump a fascist?