Most of the news cycle yesterday was taken up with stories about the death of the Dear Leader of North Korea and his under-thirty son who now has a nuclear arsenal. One news story showed North Korea at night from space. While the rest of the world is bathed in light, North Korea is black because when the sun goes down, the light goes out.
That image could be an apt metaphor for what is happening to democracy in Mesa County. The lights have gone out for the local Democratic Party, or at the very least someone turned the dimmer way down. There is an election in 2012, with a crowded field of candidates for the two county commissioner open seats. Not one Democrat has thrown their hat into the ring. How can there be democracy if there is no choice? How can there be democracy if all of the candidates stick to party dictated talking points, as evidenced by the recent usage of the word “vindictive” by Republicans all across the state to describe the new political maps?
To be fair, there are two candidates who are running as independents in the county commissioner race. One, a woman, is working very hard to get elected. The other, a man, is rumored to be a former Democrat who decided he would have a better chance of winning if he ran as an independent. Given the demographics of this county, he may be right. There are more independents than Republicans on the voter rolls, and more Republicans than Democrats.
I got a call yesterday form one of the Co-Chairmen of the local party asking if I would attend a meeting at Colorado Mesa University. The purpose of the meeting was to provide county commissioner candidates with information and resources about water. In the arid west, water is an extremely important issue, so it was no surprise to see almost all of the candidates at this meeting. (Rose Pugliese was not there.)
What was surprising was the age of most of the candidates. I’ve been saying that I think it is time to turn over governance to a younger generation. Most of the people in the room made me look like a youngster. At least one couldn’t stay awake for the entire meeting. Something is seriously wrong with our democratic process when the only people running for office are about to experience lights out-they are barely fogging the mirror now. (Apologies to the two women in the race.)