by Paul Kashmann
I’m going to assume, dear readers,
in the interest of preserving our oh-so-cordial relationship,
that you were all among the paltry 103,238 Denverites
who voted in the May 3 election.
So please know that the following diatribe
does not apply to you. Verily, it would stun me to learn that even one of you
was among the 195,929 irresponsible louts who received a ballot, but declined
to submit their vote.
understand the “you say tomato, I say tomato”; the “you like Pavarotti, I like
Dylan”; or even the “you support the Tea Party and I vote Green” type of
differences in the way people live their lives.
I simply do not get those of you who ignore the right and responsibility to
participate in the selection of those who set the priorities, make the rules
and decide how we spend the money in our city, state and nation.
you might have misunderstood, the May 3 ballot was not about choosing a new
flavor of Girl Scout cookie, the next winner of American Idol nor even
something so wildly important as which tanning salon, beef burrito or Long
Island iced tea you would nominate as “Best of Denver.” (Though some would
argue that a better turnout would have occurred had such gritty choices been
the recent call to vote called upon you to select a candidate for Mayor (our
city’s chief executive), Auditor (the lead watcher of our dollars), Clerk &
Recorder (official vote counter) and several representatives on City Council
– the only check and balance for our strong mayoral form of local
the past five months, we interviewed more than two dozen
candidates for Mayor and Council. If your reason for abstaining from the
selection process is a belief that they’re all the same, I suggest you think
again. The candidates were men, women, gay, straight, homeless, wealthy, middle
class, young, middle-aged, black, white, brown, conservative, liberal and at
least one is willing to admit he believes there are aliens among us.
I’m sure many of those who decided not to vote
cheered wildly upon hearing the news that Osama Bin Laden had finally been
“brought to justice.” And it wouldn’t surprise me if with glorious words they
toasted the Navy Seals who executed the man and the mission with such awesome
would seem obvious that those brave warriors were not there because of simple
revenge – the mission was too dangerous. They were there because it was
deemed necessary to remove what was perceived as an unacceptable threat to the
American way of life they are sworn to uphold.
I think it is safe to say that the way of life the men and women of our
military seek to uphold has much more to do with the protection of our
constitutional freedoms that form the foundation for our republic, than with
the luxuries that sometimes go along with being American.
Seals did not put their lives on the line so you have the right to earn a good
living and drive on nicely paved roads. Although those things are indeed nice
perks of life in the U.S. of A.
didn’t kill the men and women in that compound in Pakistan – or in any
other conflict, war or armed engagement in our nation’s history – so you
can play golf, take a vacation or eat well on Thanksgiving.
send our young people into battle (theoretically) to protect the freedoms that
our country was founded upon – the right to worship as we please, the
right to choose those who would lead us, the right to life and liberty –
not simply the pursuit of happiness. There are privileges, rights and
responsibilities inherent with life in America. Our system of open elections
embraces all three.
if you think we’ve been spending money the wrong way, standing on the wrong
principles and getting involved in the wrong conflicts, then you need to vote
in people who are going to shift us in the direction you think we need to go.
For those of you hoping to ease the conscience
that really should be keeping you up at night, you have another chance to enter
the fray. A runoff election for Mayor, Clerk & Recorder and several City
Council districts will be held, with ballots going out later this month, to be
returned by June 7.
out the article on page 39 for details on what’s up and how to get involved.
Get back in the game. All of the decisions on the ballot demand your attention,
but the mayoral race between Chris Romer and Michael
Hancock is especially compelling.
Too many people have fought too many battles to give
you the many freedoms you enjoy. It’s time to pull on the grown-up costume and
do your part. Vote by June 7.