Opinion | Bruce Butler: Who am I?

Allow me to start by expressing my gratitude to the Summit Daily News for the opportunity to join their group of regular columnists. My goal in taking on this role is to offer constructive ideas, different perspectives and positive discussion on local issues of the day. In the Mike Rosen tradition, allow me to tell you where I sit before I tell you where I stand.

I am proud to call Summit County home for the past 21 years, and I am grateful to have raised a family here. In my experience, Summit County is a welcoming, engaged, generous and caring community. No matter the challenges, we are blessed to live in such a beautiful place.

Serving on the Silverthorne Town Council and as mayor was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. While I may disagree with various policies, political ideologies and decisions made by national, state and local elected officials, I believe most elected officials serve because they want to improve their community, state and nation. I also know it is easy to solve problems from the security of your sofa, and it’s a lot harder when you are sitting in the big chairs in the front of the room.

I believe the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution embody two of the four greatest documented advancements in human dignity and individual freedom. I believe in valuing people according to the content of their character and not the color of their skin, gender or sexual orientation. I believe in equal application of the law and grace and redemption. When faced with a choice between larger and more powerful government and individual rights and liberty, I side with individual freedom.

I believe no person, nation, system of government or “ism” is perfect, but I unapologetically prefer capitalism to socialism or communism, and I am thankful to have been born in the USA. I also believe our nation is experiencing one of the most vulnerable moments in its history since the Civil War, and we must strive to unite the country through our common humanity and not divide people over immutable characteristics. I think cancel culture is fundamentally dangerous to our future.

I believe in hedging my risk by getting an annual flu shot and the COVID-19 vaccination, but I think those who had COVID-19 or those who don’t want to receive a still-experimental vaccine have the right to make their own medical decisions. I think most people — liberal, centrist or conservative — really want to be left alone by the government.

My approach to government is to seek measured, pragmatic solutions. I am a proponent of public-private partnerships, where possible, to enable citizens, nonprofits, faith-based charities and private industry to address pressing public challenges. COVID-19 vaccine development is a great example of private industry mobilizing at record speed to address a major public problem.

I think asking for voter identification is essential for preserving the principle of one person, one vote. It is hard to understand why this is controversial when you need to produce ID to board an airplane, pick up tickets at the All-Star Game will call window, purchase alcohol, purchase tobacco and to enter many state and federal buildings. This is certainly not a comprehensive list.

I believe Winston Churchill was correct when he said, “For a nation to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.”

I have great respect for entrepreneurs and anybody who has the courage to start and operate a small business. Perhaps above all, I agree with Ronald Reagan who famously stated, “There is no limit to the amount of good you can do when you don’t care who gets the credit.”

Finally, although I have wrestled extensively with this pronouncement, I can boldly say Led Zeppelin is the greatest rock band of all time!

My commitment to Summit Daily readers is to offer respectful discussion of current events, public policy and government with no sloganeering or name-calling. My wish for each of you is to join the discussion, get involved in the community and — as the Tunnels to Towers advertisements say — “do good.”

Bruce Butler

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