Opinion | Tony Jones: Everything in moderation | SummitDaily.com

Opinion | Tony Jones: Everything in moderation

Tony Jones
Everything in Moderation

Hello, Summit County, and welcome to my column, “Everything in Moderation.” Twice a month, I will examine local issues and often (but not always) try to stake out that middle ground that has become so elusive in modern-day politics, both nationally and locally. I look forward to exploring these issues and perhaps even contributing to solutions, and I welcome the thoughts and ideas of Summit Daily News readers.

I am approaching this endeavor with eyes wide open. I know that while I think of myself as a moderate policy thinker, not everyone who reads this column will agree with that. I’m sure some readers will peg me as a liberal because I believe in the power of good government to address some of society’s ills. Others will peg me as a conservative because I don’t believe that government should involve itself in every problem looking for a solution.

Some readers, from both ends of the political spectrum, I’m sure have only scorn for moderates. They might tell you moderates are wishy-washy and don’t have or hold true to values. I’d counter that being moderate means you understand the concept of compromise and getting something done. This versus holding to a set of ideals that, while perhaps well intentioned, are focused on one’s beliefs as the only beliefs that matter, an intransigence standing in the way of progress. With moderation should come a willingness to argue a point and then listen to the arguments of others. And if those other arguments have merit, concede their validity and reconsider your own points in light of them.

So what does it mean to be a moderate in Summit County?

For this moderate, it’s about trying to understand all sides of the housing shortage and having all sides work toward a solution. It’s not about demonizing short-term rental owners because they have found a way to invest money that helps their bottom line while also contributing to the economic vitality of the county. It is about understanding that something must be done to address worker housing and that owners will be asked to contribute to the solution, perhaps through higher permitting costs to fund said housing.

And neither is it about demonizing longtime locals who have seen so much change in Summit County over the years, especially of late, and who are struggling with adjusting to it all. But those people also need to be part of the solution and understand that strangling the gig economy will not bring back the good old days and will likely have countywide financial repercussions.

And it’s about understanding the difficult job that government has in navigating the problems it faces as well as participating in civil discourse to find answers.

And this self-proclaimed moderate believes in following rules, mostly. For example, I wear a mask indoors in the hopes of helping our community, and myself, stay safe, but I will rip that sucker off as soon as I walk outside. I won’t tear into a barista or retail worker for simply doing their job in implementing mask orders, but neither will you see me driving alone and masked in my car. It’s not about virtue signaling; it’s about following commonsense guidelines designed to keep us all healthy and our economy thriving.

Moderation requires taking a moment to understand both sides of the story. It’s trying to find the middle ground. The direction to take that won’t give everyone what they want but hopefully will give everyone what they need. It’s about bridging divides in ways that often require sacrifice of all parties so that we can attain a better functioning society that has tolerance and respect for all points of view.

I look forward to taking Summit Daily readers on this search for the middle ground. And I hope we can have a civil discussion where everyone’s ideas are considered and weighed on their potential for solving problems and that those ideas are not automatically discarded because of the color of the political yard sign in their lawn.

Tony Jones

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