Richard Doran’s idyllic version of the Olympics, expressed in his Aug. 12 letter, is nave. The Olympics are complicated and not very idyllic. Doran’s simplistic version does represent one aspect of the Olympics. But wait, there is more.Olympic medals can translate into fame and fortune, and athletes are motivated by that as well as by national honor and personal achievement, so it is hardly surprising that they often resort to dishonorable behavior. This year, American athletes risked disqualification for revolting against the IOC’s prohibition against using social media to promote corporate sponsors. Many competitors were disqualified for using performance enhancing drugs. Others were disqualified for attempting to lose in order to face easier opponents in subsequent rounds. Some were disqualified for racist comments on Twitter. A boxer refused to shake hands with a referee and stomped from the ring after being disqualified for holding three times in the first round. A gold medalist swimmer admitted using illegal dolphin kicks underwater because he knew he wouldn’t be caught, saying “everyone does it.” A gold medal track cyclist admitted purposely crashing his bicycle and falsely claiming mechanical problems in order to force a restart.Sadly, class warfare, dirty tricks and gloat over deception are Olympic as well as political. Like anything competitive, Olympics bring out people’s best, worst and a lot in between. Doran’s generalized portrayal of Olympians as paragons of honest individual effort, personal honor and superb sportsmanship is no more accurate than his portrayal of politicians as necessarily self-serving and dishonest. All of them (and the rest of us) are individuals doing their (our) best in a variety of circumstances and achieving a variety of results. Generalizing about classes of people is rarely accurate and even more rarely socially constructive. It is called prejudice. It tends to divide us, and tends to keep us from seeking, finding and collaborating towards common good. This is so whether the classes are based on ethnicity, vocation, religion, political philosophy, economic status, sources of income, or anything else and it is so whether the judgment is negative or positive.Ron KokishCarbondale
It is difficult to read the liberal papers in this valley and not respond to some of the ridiculous comments made via letters to the editor. At least let’s get the facts straight. George W. Bush was not one of my favorite presidents, but to continue to blame him and the Republican Party for what happened to the U.S. economy four years ago is not only incorrect, in itself, but letter-writer Carl Heck got his facts wrong in his letter of Aug. 8. Four, five and six years ago we had a Democratic Congress. President Carter started the housing problem, which was embellished by President Clinton, but the truth is the Republicans did not do anything about the problem brought about by the Democrats. What has President Obama done to improve the economy? Voters want to hear what Barack Obama or Mitt Romney are going to do in order to improve our economy and pay our bills – not a bunch of lies, misrepresentations and garbage.When the new health bill goes into effect, most of the citizens will be worse off. The bill is not what we had hoped for, and it was voted in by a Congress that, for the most part, did not even read the bill. It is full of new taxes, government control and limited availability. My Canadian friends have told me that government health care is a real pain and they hope that we avoid it. Dr. Robert Adams did a total replacement of both of my knees. My wife needs the same operation on her right knee, but he no longer takes Medicare patients. I know of six other doctors who no longer take Medicare patients. What a bunch of greedy doctors, right? Or is it that they don’t want a bunch of self-serving dictators in the federal government interfering and telling them how to conduct their medical practice? Should the best surgeon in a given area earn the same as a mediocre surgeon in that same area? That is one of the philosophical differences between the Democrats and the Republicans. Dick FitzgeraldCarbondale
“Must be a Mexican or a n*****-lover.” That’s what a man driving to see Gov. Romney at Basalt High School said about me. I was wearing my Obama T-shirt and carrying a sign I’d made that read, “Basalt Longhorn alumni for Obama & Biden.” The sign was on behalf of my husband, a 1972 Basalt graduate.I haven’t told anyone about this, because I thought maybe then I could pretend it hadn’t happened. But on Aug. 10 I watched a documentary about the Freedom Riders. In 1961, racist remarks like this man’s were perfectly acceptable. Because decent people did not speak out, violence against people of color was commonplace. I realize now that if I pretend this didn’t happen, I am encouraging this man’s hate speech, and we have regressed to 1961.I wonder if this man’s wife was with him, or maybe some friends. How did they react to what he said? Did they laugh and agree? Or did they sit quiet and pretend they hadn’t heard? As for myself, I have decided I was wrong to pretend I didn’t hear it. I can’t turn back the clock and stand up to that man. But I can resolve, and ask readers to resolve, never again to sit quiet and pretend we didn’t hear.Nancy SmithCarbondale
The Aug. 9 front page story on the TCAP test results could have had a headline that said, “Third grade reading scores jump past state average,” or “Test scores increase in 22 grade and subject areas,” or “Third, fourth, fifth, sixth, ninth and 10th grades see reading gains.”But instead, the headline said “TCAP test scores decline compared to last year in Re-1,” with a subheader that says “More grade-level losses than gains.” How many more losses than gains? One.The chance to start the school year on a positive, encouraging note with front page news heralding all the progress made was instead turned into a downer. Hopefully, people read past the headline to see how much good news there is to celebrate. Congratulations, hard-working teachers, parents and students. Here’s wishing you more success (and more support) in the coming school year.Deborah Holt WilliamsGlenwood Springs
Aren’t we supposed to be educated and know our Constitution and what our founding fathers stood for?Then what are people doing, going down to Grand Junction to hear President Obama speak? He has already been identified as a communist.So what was the change he was pushing? It looks like it was going broke, losing your job and home, and having a smaller savings account. I can’t believe people voted for that. No one did their homework. They just voted for him without thinking.I have to suffer along with them for their voting mistakes. It will happen again to them. They’ll still vote bad.Karen GraffSilt
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When I look back on my most significant learning moments — meaning, the times when I felt I had learned a skill or gained a truly impactful and resonant piece of information — very few…