Thursday, September 12, 2019

Changing papers

In 2007 the editor of the Sky Hi News , Autumn Phillips asked me to be a columnist because she was concerned the political columnist she published was very conservative and she did not want her paper to represent only one side of the political spectrum. She wanted me to bring balance from a liberal viewpoint and she would carry both columnists.  I have always been an activist, but writing has always been part of my advocacy of issues and candidates so I viewed this as a new way to continue my activism. My passion was national and international affairs, but I have years in and out of local government and had been a fly on the wall on the national stage, accompanying my husband, 12 years as Colorado's Democratic National Committeeman, to Washington and conventions. It has also been a core part of my being that I have seen first-hand affairs in Europe, the ruins of World War II,  and the end of the Cold War. and its aftermath through annual trips there.   I married a refugee from Yugoslavia I met in my junior year abroad in Berlin in 1958.  We were married for over 50 years and he was an outstanding physician serving Denver and Grand County as well as the same Democratic Committeeman who knew first hand the country's power players.  The new editor of the Sky-Hi News in the summer of 2019 wanted the columnists to write about local affairs instead of national and international issues and candidates.  The prior editor had also stopped carrying the columnists in print editions in the winter of 2019 and we were only carried on-line. This change was particularly sad since many of our readers did not have easy or cheap access to the internet.

When Michael Turner, owner, editor of the Winter Park Times approached me about coming to his paper to balance a columnist of the right side of the political views with my liberal ones, to put the column in print and online, I accepted that opportunity.    My view is that the greatest cause of our country's polarization is that we all do what is comfortable. If we have an opportunity, as cable news and social media provide us, we naturally go to our favorite media that comes closest to our own views.  What we need is more of the ability to look at both sides of an issue or views of a candidate so that it is hard to switch channels.  Good old fashioned debate is a crucial part of democracy and educating the public of various views is important so they can make a rational decision at the voting booth. Print media that provides side by side views or alternating columns has that unique ability that electronic media often does not provide.

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