22 November 2006: Thanks for Upholding Democracy

Thanks for upholding democracy

One of the delights of a nascent curmudgeon is finding perverse pleasure in being a wet blanket, the rain on another’s parade. Thanksgiving is a particularly good day to put a damper on things, considering, for example, the degree of world hunger while Americans pig—turkey?—out in excess and the fact that Americans have an extra week to literally riot and run up more personal debt over absurdities such as PlayStation 3.

As Americans, we got it good, for the most part. I don’t blame God for being the guiding hand in our ability to corner 25 percent of the world’s resources and wealth; unbridled capitalism and Ayn Rand’s virtue of selfishness—greed—have been responsible for that as well as for the epidemic of asbestosis in tiny Libby, Montana. But the profit-is-everything game can be sometimes played better by others—like non-American baseball players becoming MLB superstars. American economic hegemony is being challenged by rising Asian powers, and within in a generation or two, it’s quite likely America will have declined enough to play designated hitter to China and India’s clean-up.

This year, however, I am going to give playing Cassandra a break and say thanks—like for the restoration of the republic on November 7. The rightward lunge towards oligarchy and eventual fascism and theocracy has been thwarted. Checks and balances with accountability, essential foundation blocks of a sustaining democracy, have been re-established. With the Ruling Republican Majority reduced to minority status due to corruption and abuses of power, the genius of our Founders, once again, has been validated.

I give thanks as well for the change of guard in Colorado, for it will have a direct and positive impact on Clear Creek. With the huge success of the light-rail system, the I-70 Corridor issue has been rising in metro neighbors’ consciousness with the result of folks questioning more the practicality and wisdom of solely widening I-70 and understanding that additional asphalted lanes are not the answer.

Thus, thanks are given to local I-70 leaders, like Jo Ann Sorenson and Harry Dale, for their persistence and steadfastness over the years. I asked them on my KYGT radio show recently that if, with Governor-elect Bill Ritter and a more empathetic legislature in place, we could take a breather. Jo Ann nearly caused herself whiplash while shaking her head and saying, “NO! We need to continue to work hard, educating our friends and neighbors about the issue.” Both spoke about recent transit successes in New Mexico and Utah. In both cases, Jo Ann said “political will” was the deciding factor, such as New Mexico Gov. Richardson directing the rail between Santa Fe and Albuquerque be built and done quickly. It was.

I want to thank those voters of Clear Creek who took time to study the issues and candidates, for an engaged citizenry serving as watchdog is the guarantor of our democracy. Whether we agreed with all or part of the results, the electoral process came off with nary a hitch. So, thanks to Pam Phipps, her staff, and the election judges and volunteers for making that happen. The bottom line lesson we can learn from this election at all levels is that, despite the acrimony of the venomous attack ads, we can disagree without being disagreeable; and for that, we ought to be all thankful.

One other thank you note: to every candidate for public office, for as Teddy Roosevelt put it, “It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again because there is no effort without error and shortcomings, who knows the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the high achievement of triumph and who at worst, if he fails while daring greatly, knows his place shall never be with those timid and cold souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”

All that remains is to decide to whom to give thanks. It’s quite simple: the People of the United States, Americans who remember their history and what they are about—“liberty and justice for all.” Admittedly on that, America still has plenty of work in becoming more aware and compassionate towards others, such as extending fair and equal rights to gay and lesbian Americans. Despite the disappointing outcomes of Referendum I and Amendment 43, our history has been one of growing tolerance. Abolitionists as well as other equal and civil rights activists and advocates of the past didn’t throw in the towel after suffering setbacks; nor will we. Hope remains and for that I am thankful.

So, dear reader, hopefully Thanksgiving is a day on which you have much to be thankful for and thank you for reading and for your periodic insightful responses.

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