Jim Randall: More civility needed toward Steamboat guests, community
As a long-term Steamboat resident, I was disappointed to learn that one of the demonstrators at Interior Secretary Zinke’s presentation Friday night was from Steamboat Springs. Our town survives primarily on the tourist industry, and the majority of the attendees at the Steamboat Freedom Conference were from out of town.
A large number of these guests were first-time visitors and were complimentary about our community. We would like to think that many would return as vacationers.
The attendees sitting near me thought the demonstrators were from out of town and were paid to disrupt Secretary Zinke’s talk. In Saturday’s edition, Steamboat Pilot & Today corrected that notion by identifying one of the demonstrators as a Steamboat resident.
Sadly, our local, shorted-sighted demonstrator passed up a golden opportunity to further his cause. At the end of the talk, he could have asked a challenging question and entered into a courteous debate with Secretary Zinke. He could have begun by saying, “Secretary Zinke, I love public lands and have been concerned about some of the actions you have taken.”
Such a civil discourse would have been cordially received. Instead, our local demonstrator disrespected both his community and himself by choosing to rant, by creating a public spectacle and by doing nothing toward furthering his presumed cause of protecting public lands.
Being forcibly escorted from any public venue where there is an opportunity for debate is not an accomplishment, it is an abject, embarrassing failure. This young man could have been regarded as both articulate and showing true concern for public lands.
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