Dem Candidate Wows a Western Slope Crowd at Cross Orchards
by Art Goodtimes
Sep 18, 2008 | 2383 views | 2 2 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
OBAMA IN JUNCTION … Although I’d heard Sen. Barack Obama was coming to Grand Junction to speak (an historic moment for the Western Slope – to receive that kind of attention from a national presidential candidate), I had a conflict. The county has been working to get back public access to the Greager Road on the west side of Lone Cone, and an important meeting with the Dolores County Commissioners was scheduled for Monday morning (their cooperation is essential on the matter) … But, at the last minute, 8:15 a.m., the meeting was cancelled. So, I jumped into my Honda Civic and rushed up to Junction the back way. I was an hour late. I didn’t have a ticket. So I had no expectation of even getting into the event, let alone seeing Obama. I even had to wait 10 minutes for a coal train sitting motionless at the river crossing in Whitewater … But, magically, I didn’t get lost taking a shortcut to Cross Orchards (always dangerous taking “shortcuts”). I found a parking place just a block away from the rally (with 6,000 supporters and several hundred “Nobama” demonstrators in attendance, that was a miracle itself). And most incredibly, I walked up to the gate and there was Telluride’s own Gabe Lifton-Zoline (Obama’s chief organizer for the Western Slope!). Gabe whisked me through long, long lines, through security, and voila “backstage” to a reception line for Barack himself (a squad of Secret Service shades in position). I had no time to think and here was this tall handsome national figure shaking my hand, warmly, and reciting his reception line mantra, “I’m VERY happy to meet you.” I mumbled how I was one of the Greens for Obama, and happily happened to be wearing a gift shirt from a Tellurider with a bright green “08 Obama” license plate logo. Barack smiled, in agreement. And, then, playfully he stepped back, and announced to the small knot of his entourage, some snapping pictures, “For a minute there, I thought it was ZZ Top,” looking at me and grinning. Most laughed, as did I. And then Barack swung his left arm around and gave me a hug, before moving on to the last in a short line … Alone (although I saw a number of friends in the crowd at various times, including George Greenbank), at the bottom of the bleachers, but with a clear view of speakers from the back of the impromptu stage, I watched Gov. Bill Ritter rally the crowd; Sen. Ken Salazar declaim, “I’m here because I believe. You’re here because you believe. The future of the world is in your hands!”; and Barack, masterfully giving his stump speech, without notes, explaining, in reaction to the news of the current financial crisis on Wall St., “Instead of prosperity trickling down, the pain has trickled up.” He called the current stock market dive “the worst financial crisis since the Depression.” … Pretty strong words. Very inspiring words. The cheering hullabaloo of a large Western Slope crowd … As all the signs said, “Change We Need.”

GREENS FOR OBAMA … What’s ironic for me, as a long-time Green Party elected official with 10 Green years in office, is that Sen. Barack Obama’s message of hope and change takes us far closer to the Greens’ 10 key values than McCain/Palin’s flaunting of hate. But unfortunately, as the party did with Ralph Nader in 2000 and David Cobb in 2004, it’s running a presidential candidate this year – Cynthia McKinney … Don’t get me wrong. I’d love to have her in the White House. She’s smart, gutsy and would push this country in all the directions that I’d like to see it go … But with only a couple dozen partisan elected officials in the entire nation, for a minor party to run a presidential candidate in a winner-take-all system is a bad strategic move. It suggests a very immature analysis of the relevant political landscape … Instant Runoff Voting, or IRV, could change that and make minor party votes, even in national and state elections, viable; but it isn’t here yet (more on that next week) … In the American version of democracy, we’ve moved a long ways in 200-plus years from our revolutionary roots as a loose-knit confederation of states to a two-party duopoly republic with a strong (some would say imperial) presidency, a bicameral legislature and an independent (if increasingly ideological) judiciary. One cannot gain purchase for making change without first analytically deconstructing a complex system to understand its strengths and weaknesses. In the unique U.S. political system, minor parties of the left and right may publicize their causes and values by running candidates for offices they cannot win, and maybe even get the majors to co-opt some ideas, but in the process, especially if successful at winning significant votes, they run the huge risk of “spoiling” the election for their mainstream (if milquetoast) ideological allies – the Dems for the Greens and the independent Naderists, the Repubs for the Libertarians and Constitutionalists … If the Greens want to be the electoral wing of the Progressive movement in the U.S., the failed traditional minor party strategy of running as many candidates as possible for offices they have no chance of winning needs re-examination … I strongly believe that the Green Party ought to build the party from the bottom up, winning local elections before taking on state and national offices. We should demonstrate our strategic ability to win, not gain a reputation for losing … On the national level this year, I’m supporting Obama for president (not Cynthia McKinney) and on the state level Mark Udall for U.S. Senate (not Bob Kinsey). But locally, I’m proud to be running as an incumbent Green (the only partisan-elected Green in Colorado), and regionally I’m supporting Greens Jerry Lacy for Custer County Commissioner and Scott Zulauf for Jefferson County Commissioner – those are exactly the kind of local elections where Greens ought to be challenging the major parties.

WEEKLY QUOTA … “All authority belongs to the people… In questions of power let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief with chains of the Constitution." -Thomas Jefferson

© 2008 Art Goodtimes


On the Way to Palisade

Move over Memphis

the Nile’s got nothing on

the Dolores River Canyon road.

Cliffs sheer as temple walls.

Rough-cut. Alive with

gorgons & gargoyles.

The sandstone mysteries

of earth air fire & water’s

mud red Sphinxes.

Comments-icon Post a Comment
Buddy K
November 07, 2008

No wonder you have no time for old friends - too busy hobnobbing with the rich and famous. I'm glad you won another term. I agree that the Greens should not be running people at the top who are not qualified for the office, but should stick to party building at lower levels. Those of us who witnessed Ms McKinney's behavior in Washington when she was a Congresswoman, shuddered when she received the Green nomination. I voted for a green locally myself and I was glad to have a competent alternative.

Mr Silvertown
September 20, 2008

Sweet moment in time!!

You and He are the greatest..........

P Mc