Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Center speakers provide diversity


My husband and I are lifelong Republicans and are conservative on most issues. We are supporters of Mitt Romney. We are part-time residents of Ketchum and of New York City. I serve on the Sun Valley Center for the Arts board of directors and my husband, John, has lectured for The Center on issues related to American military security and surveillance systems. 

I have been made aware of criticism of The Center’s booking Frank Rich as a speaker. As a regular reader of New York magazine, I am familiar with Frank Rich’s columns and would not expect him to vary from his abrasive tone and consistent liberal point of view in a lecture on American politics.

That being said, it never occurred to me to protest bringing him to The Center to speak. He is a well-known and lively journalist who will no doubt be provocative and entertaining. I wish I could be there.

The Center’s mission is to stimulate the imagination while opening hearts and minds through excellence in diverse arts programming. The Lecture Series over the last few years has brought to our community authors, scientists, poets, journalists and social commentators, all of whom are recognized as leaders in their field of expertise. The Center has an open and honest process that is used to select speakers and the organization has the right to present programming of its choice. 

The narrow-mindedness that is demonstrated by those who object to inviting speakers with whom they disagree is disturbing to me. I like to think of the Wood River Valley as a place where all points of view can get a respectful reception. It would be incumbent on those who have issues with Frank Rich’s politics to attend the lecture, ask questions that challenge the speaker’s point of view and state their own. That is their right and obligation as American citizens.

Barbara Lehman

Ketchum

 




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