Walking into the transition period

While I’m walking the dogs on an early August morning that is starting to feel like September in most other places of the country, my mind wanders.

Another successful Crested Butte Arts Festival is over and there is a general feeling of relief that the summer frenzy is behind or almost behind us. It will still be busy and it will get dry and hot again, but the consistent mayhem is tapering. School will soon start in Texas and Oklahoma and the vacationing families will thin out. The flowers will disappear to be replaced by nature’s color of a different sort. The morning temperature has a bit of a chill and the sun is setting earlier. The Crested Butte Community School will start before month’s end and so our schoolchildren are grabbing the end of their summer break. Those who play local high school sports will begin their practices this coming week and that is a sure sign of the transition.

Speaking of local sports: Crested Butte’s own Emma Coburn made it to Rio a few days ago to prepare for her steeplechase competition in the 2016 Olympics. She holds the U.S. record for her event and will have a spotlight on her when she races on Saturday about 6:30 a.m. Mountain Time and in the finals on Monday morning at 6:30. This is her community, and we are all proud of this beautiful young woman and will be watching her and cheering for her on the world stage. Crazy to think she was just like one of those local students you will see this week transitioning from summer vacation to practice and then to class in that school at the entrance to our community.

Speaking of crazy: There are people out there who are crazy—people who suffer from, among other things, something called Narcissistic Personality Disorder. According to the knower of all things real, the internet, some signs of the disorder include having unreasonable expectations of favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations; an unwillingness to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others; consistent arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes; and a grandiose sense of self-importance so he or she exaggerates achievements and talents and expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements.

These are people who mistake attention for respect and cry louder and meaner when their antics don’t draw sufficient attention. So people who lash out and call other people names when even slightly challenged and earn a reputation for being unstable and unhinged are, by most reasonable accounts, a bit crazy. For those with compassion, it is somewhat sad (and irritating) to watch. But for that type of person to actually be the leader of a major political party with the chance to bring that unbalanced personality to the world’s highest office is crazy for all of us.

Can you really be comfortable supporting a man who makes fun of disabled people? Can you really be comfortable supporting a man who claims a respected federal judge born in Indiana cannot be fair in a case he is involved with, based solely on his Mexican heritage, or vote for a man who doesn’t seem to have the attention span needed to learn new things or analyze new facts or actually describe details of any plan? How can there be a realistic thoughtful way to support someone with such flaws in his or her basic humanity?

I respect Republican U.S. Senator Susan Collins for saying just that this week. She pointed out Donald Trump’s “constant stream of cruel comments and his inability to admit error or apologize” as proof of his unsuitability for office. As reported Tuesday, she said Trump’s inclination to disparage critics and his “disregard for the precept of treating others with respect” give her particular pause.

It is painful that some leaders of the Grand Old Party like Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell are willing to keep adjusting their blinders and cling to the thought of power for the party as opposed to what’s best for the entire country by continuing to support a man that 50 Republican national security officials described this week as “reckless.”

Speaking of support: The Crested Butte council will likely finally pass a plastic bag ban at its meeting this coming Monday. The discussion has been long and the council positions have changed several times. As a result of all the machinations this ban appears like it will be one that eliminates most but not all plastic bags in the town after two years and will require they be replaced with recyclable paper bags that meet certain standards. There will be no fee collected by businesses. There is general support for such a measure and it can be considered a start for those who want more.

Speaking of wanting more: We are moving into one of the great seasons of the valley. There is more time in our lives, more space on the trails and more opportunity to remember why we choose to live here. There should also be more money in your bank account this time of year. Enjoy the upcoming period—there are about 100 days left before the ski area lifts start spinning.

—Mark Reaman

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