of consciousness and righteous rage,
I've found that just surviving was a noble fight
I once believed in causes too,
had my pointless point of view,
Life went on no matter who was wrong or right.
- Billy Joel, 'Angry Young Man'
Local activist Jacob Richards wrote a letter to the Sentinel over the weekend criticizing this week's dedication of a statue commemorating Sentinel owner and publisher, aviation pioneer, and local political figure Walter Walker. Mr. Richards cited several sources in highlighting Mr. Walker's affiliation with, and support of, a well-known organization given to racial and religious intolerance.
Throughout history, there are those that have distinguished themselves in the community or the world through their actions for the common good. These individuals, by definition, were all flawed in some way.
Walter Walker was one of these people. Like all of us human beings who make mistakes and do regrettable things, it is apparent through historical record that Mr. Walker did indeed embrace the Ku Klux Klan. He also backed away from that endorsement.
When the statue of Dalton Trumbo was dedicated last year, several in the community were critical of both Trumbo's alleged duplicity as a member of the 'Hollywood Ten' and his open embrace of Communism. Among many older, long-time Grand Junction residents, his skewering of early 20th Century Grand Junction in 'Eclipse' was also not forgotten.
Yet the community at large embraced Trumbo's considerable accomplishments as a screenwriter and novelist, and the now-famous 'bathtub' sculpture now sits near the Avalon Theater.
Mr. Richards' attempts to remind the community of Mr. Walker's less-than-admirable past associations is interesting, but not unexpected. It's also irrelevant to the task at hand, which is to honor Mr. Walker's contributions to the community, which far exceed his temporary lapse of reason that Mr. Richards brought attention to.
Mr. Richards will likely continue his efforts on the public stage later this week. I would hope that he will not endanger himself or others, and that he will exercise his First Amendment rights in a responsible manner. I would personally enjoy reading a special edition of The Red Pill dedicated to this issue.
I'm hopeful that Mr. Richards will overcome his tendencies toward self-righteousness and trying to bring attention to himself to understand the proceedings this week. I also hope that he will eventually learn the value of calm, reasoned public discourse, working with others across ideological boundaries, and achieving compromise for the good of as many citizens as possible.
Perhaps he will, and use his considerable intellect to achieve great things, for which future community leaders will erect a statue of him. It might be dedicated with hardly a mention of Sarah Palin's motorcade.
As High Country News contributor Michelle Nijhuis so eloquently wrote about Dalton Trumbo's tribute two years ago:
"In reprinting "Eclipse,'' and embracing the truths of Shale City, Grand Junction deals a blow to the blacklist mentality. It also shows that small towns -- despite their many faults -- can be generous of heart, and large of mind."It sounds to me as if the community is about to do the same thing with Walter Walker, and that sounds good to me.