29 October 2014: Elect pragmatic leaders to office

Elect pragmatic leaders to office

If you’ve been reading my columns over the past several weeks, you might’ve noted one consistent refrain or mantra: “principled, pragmatic, problem-solving leadership.”  One might call it the 3PR’s.

3PR is a philosophical approach to dealing with our societal great issues: economic, environmental, social justice, et al.

3PR is the opposite of ideological leading.  In that process, one subscribes to a rigid construct: e.g., “government should play no role when it comes to…” or “a human being is formed at the moment of conception.”

Holding such beliefs is perfectly fine but to work to impose those impulses on the larger society is detrimental to the democratic process and representative government.  It closes down conversation and precludes compromise.  That’s how they do it in Iran and like places.

I differentiate between leadership and leading as well.  Leadership is inclusive involving listening with the leader willing to present and explain his/her decision and to be held accountable for it.

Leading, on the other hand, implies the Pied Piper of Hamelin archetype.  He—usually a male—requires followers who mindlessly do his bidding.  Think Kim Il-sung of North Korea.

It is from that premise I view not only candidates but ballot proposals as well.  Over the past several columns, I’ve attempted to make cases for the re-elections of John Hickenlooper and Mark Udall based on that construct.  My intent was to present reasoned arguments, food for political thought, and respect readers to arrive at their own conclusions.  It’s all part of the critical thinking process.

On that note, following are thoughts about a couple more candidates and the aforesaid ballot proposals:

Secretary of State:  Joe Neguse is a rising star in the Colorado.  The office he seeks should be administered ethically without regard to politics, very much how Clear Creek’s Clerk and Recorder Pam Phipps conducts business here.  Outgoing Secretary of State Scott Gessler tainted the office both with his shenanigans and ploys to limit legitimate citizens from participating and with his management.

Joe offers citizens a complete contrast in terms of ethics and style.  Joe’s resume includes being a University of Colorado student body president and graduate and CU Board of Regents member.  A son of Eritrean immigrants, Joe values above all else the right to vote, the essential underpinning of our republic.  As the Denver Post notes in its editorial endorsement, Joe is “public service-minded individual with an impressive record of achievement in many facets of his life.”

Attorney General: In like manner, Don Quick would bring a fresh approach to the AG’s office, a vibrant contrast to the stolid outgoing AG John Suthers.  On the issue of same-sex marriage for example, Don took Suthers to task in an opinion piece in the Post for his rigid opposition.  The Colorado Supreme Court, he pointed out “unanimously stated that challenging a law when there are ‘grave doubts about its constitutionality’ is consistent with the attorney general’s ‘ethical duties and oath of office.’”

Proposition 104:  It will only serve to muck up and roil the waters of public education more.  As former president of my teachers association, I’ve participated in intense negotiations and sometimes things get said or put forth that either are not meant or are said in frustration.  Often, too, one side will present an offer more as a negotiating ploy rather than a serious proposal.

Proposition 105: I hear the economic arguments against it, but I am leaning towards it as a “right to know” what I’m putting into my body.  As the pro campaign holds on its website, “Food labels list and describe nearly every detailed component of the food product, from the caloric values and processing information, to the fat and protein content and the known allergens.

“Adding a simple label for GMO ingredients would fulfill Colorado consumers’ right to know, enabling them to make educated food purchases and dietary choices for themselves and their families.”

Amendment 67: No.  It’s quackery.  It will go down, but don’t fear, the zealots will be back in two years.

Amendment 68: No.  It’s a ploy and ruse to write into our constitution a private Rhode Island gambling business.  Even if the funds it claims would go to public schools do, which is highly debatable given TABOR and our other budget growth restrictions, they would be peanuts.

Judges retentions:  Go the website Know Your Judge at http://knowyourjudge.com/index.html and do your homework.  It’s better than “skipping ‘em or guessing.”

Above all, do your patriotic duty and vote.  Please.

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