Letter: Grand Lake’s ‘Constitution Week is nonpartisan’
September 25, 2013
To the Editor:
I'm grateful for the letter that Cindy Kleh wrote to the editor on Friday, not because I agree with everything she said, but because she attended a Grand Lake Constitution Week event, and thoughtfully presented her views. This is exactly what Constitution Week is about, discussing this most important document in an intelligent and passionate manner. Cindy was able to disagree with the speaker, without being disagreeable.
Please understand that Constitution Week is nonpartisan, like Memorial Day when we remember veterans' sacrifices, and the Fourth of July when we celebrate the Declaration of Independence.
Nonetheless, the U.S. Constitution can be controversial. Even the justices on the Supreme Court can't agree on what it means. While we could try to invite noncontroversial speakers who will not offend anyone, it's better to welcome knowledgeable and passionate Constitutional scholars with various viewpoints in order to generate vigorous debate. Although the speakers are free to express their own views, we want everyone to feel welcome to attend, and we also want to welcome speakers representing different viewpoints. We are working towards that end. Next year we will bring more Constitutional scholars, and we hope to include a panel discussion between scholars with various viewpoints. Any constructive suggestions on making this event even better are greatly appreciated.
I am intrigued by one point Cindy raised, specifically, that government entities should never fund any program that is partisan. If this was fully implemented across the board, not only would it solve the budget crisis, but we could probably pay our taxes for the entire year from the loose change in our pockets.
Regarding the fireworks committee, which is totally separate from Constitution Week and which Doris Braun has been heading for many years, please donate generously when you see Doris and her team standing at street corners before the Fourth of July, Constitution Week and New Year's Eve celebrations. Let's continue to illuminate the skies with fireworks over our beautiful Grand County, just as we hope the speakers will illuminate our minds with new and thoughtful ideas regarding the U.S. Constitution.
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Thanks to Tom Goodfellow, for single-handedly coming up with the idea of celebrating Constitution Week in Grand Lake, and to all who in two short years have helped him make it the successful event it has become.
With all due respect to Vladimir Putin, we are an exceptional country, because we not only tolerate diverse ideas and opinions, we embrace them wholeheartedly.
Michael L. Tompkins