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Olympics can teach us to sow the seeds of civility by ‘disagreeing without disrespect’

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February 14, 2018, 11:12 am

killdozer cover croppedI really liked what Eagle County Commissioner Kathy Chandler-Henry had to say Monday at the county’s annual State of the County presentation in Eagle. An Olympic-themed video featuring Eagle’s own Jake Pates, who wound up eighth in the world in men’s snowboarding halfpipe at the Pyeongchang Games on Tuesday, helped underscore the theme of unity and civility, according to the Vail Daily.

“I was awed by the Olympics Opening Ceremonies and the themes of peace, harmony and connection. These Olympic themes, I believe, are at the core of the value of civility,” Chandler-Henry said, adding civility isn’t just politeness.

Kathy Chandler-Henry

Kathy Chandler-Henry

“It is about disagreeing without disrespect. Seeking common ground as a starting point for dialogue about differences. Listening past one’s preconceptions and helping others to do the same,” Chandler-Henry said. “We can all be more civil in our home, community and work lives. We can lead the way starting right here in Eagle County.”

Amen. After all, if North and South Korea can get together for the Games, can’t we hold an EagleVail Property Owners Association election without World War III in the Vail Daily’s letters to the editor section? Chandler-Henry’s comment perfectly echo the theme I was getting at with my blog post last week about that very POA election, which thankfully ended on Feb. 12.

The O Zone by David O. Williams

The O. Zone
by David O. Williams

In that post I alluded to the potential for anger and lack of civility to boil over into extreme acts like the one detailed in Patrick Brower’s new book “Killdozer” about the 2004 bulldozer attack on Granby town hall and 12 other structures. I had a personal connection to that attack because my mom worked with Brower at the newspaper office that was destroyed and my dad was a county judge in Grand County.

But I’ve also noticed a steady increase in misguided rage right here in Eagle County over the years. There is a growing narrative in this nation that all government is bad, whether it’s state, local or federal. I explored that theme some more in a story published Wednesday on the Colorado Politics website.

Turns out Brower went to military high school in Virginia with former presidential kingmaker Steve Bannon, whom Brower thinks helped propel Donald Trump into the White House by feeding off anti-government anger and conspiracy theories about a mythical deep state. Here’s an excerpt from that article, which is currently up on Coloradopolitics.com:

Granby ‘Killdozer’ author and Steve Bannon classmate blasts anti-government trend

EDWARDS — Longtime Granby newspaper editor and publisher turned author Patrick Brower argues former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon helped propel Donald Trump to the presidency by stoking the growing flames of anti-government anger in ways that are dangerous for democracy and potentially deadly for innocent citizens caught in the crossfire.

Brower should know. A former classmate of Bannon’s at Benedictine High School — a catholic military school in Richmond, Va. — Brower’s newspaper office was demolished by a disgruntled, anti-government vigilante driving an armored bulldozer through Granby in June 2004. Brower was two years behind Bannon at Benedictine and only “an acquaintance,” but the former Granby newspaper editor fears the former Breitbart executive is doing real damage.

Brower’s new book on the Granby attack, “Killdozer: The True story of the Colorado Bulldozer Rampage”, focuses largely on what he calls “the second rampage” by anti-government conspiracy theorists and internet trolls against the truth and in support of the attacker, Marvin Heemeyer.

“I feel there are parallels with Marv’s point of view and that of the ‘angry white voters’ who put Trump into the White House,” Brower told Colorado Politics. Anger at job losses, regulations and financial setbacks are often blamed on government, but that “creates a sort of vigilante-like, vindictive mindset where ‘getting back at the man’ prevails over common sense and restraint.”

If you’re interested and want to read more, go to killdozerbook.com for more information on Brower’s “Killdozer: The True Story of the Colorado Bulldozer Rampage.” Or better yet, stop by the Bookworm in Edwards, support a locally-owned business, get one of their delicious lattes and buy a copy of “Killdozer”.

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David O. Williams

Managing Editor at RealVail
David O. Williams is an award-winning freelance reporter based in the Vail Valley of Colorado, writing on health care, immigration, politics, the environment, energy, public lands, outdoor recreation and sports. His work has appeared in 5280 Magazine, American Way Magazine (American Airlines), the Anchorage Daily News (Alaska), Aspen Daily News, the Aspen Times, Beaver Creek Magazine, the Chicago Tribune, the Colorado Independent, Colorado Politics (formerly the Colorado Statesman), Colorado Public News, the Colorado Springs Gazette, the Colorado Independent (formerly Colorado Confidential), the Colorado Springs Independent, the Colorado Statesman (now Colorado Politics), the Daily Trail (Vail), the Denver Daily News, the Denver Post, the Durango Herald, the Eagle Valley Enterprise, the Eastside Journal (Bellevue, Washington), ESPN.com, the Glenwood Springs Post-Independent, the Greeley Tribune, the Huffington Post, the King County Journal (Seattle, Washington), KUNC.org (northern Colorado), LA Weekly, the London Daily Mirror, the Montgomery Journal (Maryland), The New York Times, the Parent’s Handbook, Peaks Magazine (now Epic Life), People Magazine, Powder Magazine, the Pueblo Chieftain, PT Magazine, Rocky Mountain Golf Magazine, the Rocky Mountain News, Atlantic Media's RouteFifty.com (formerly Government Executive State and Local), SKI Magazine, Ski Area Management, SKIING Magazine, the Summit Daily News, United Hemispheres (United Airlines), Vail/Beaver Creek Magazine, Vail en Español, Vail Valley Magazine, the Vail Daily, the Vail Trail and Westword (Denver). Williams is also the founder, publisher and editor of RealVail.com and RockyMountainPost.com.

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