So, next time you read a breathless account of mis-or-malfeasance in local government, take it with a small grain of salt. What you may be seeing, rather than the laziness and incompetence of government, is the natural inclination of journalists to take their shots at the easiest targets available.
Wasn’t it Edmund Burke, the great English conservative, who said, “If it is not necessary to change, then it is necessary not to change.” I thought about that maxim while casting my ballot on Election Day at West Middle School. The turnout was heavy, but the volunteer election officials, mostly long-time veterans, dealt easily with the crowds.
Only three days to go, and then, blessedly, it’s election day. No more sleazy attack ads. No more syrupy brochures in the mail. No more pictures of the candidates and their cloyingly cute little families. It’s over. And if there really is a national Democratic tide flowing, we’ll see it right here in Colorado.
The American West. What do those words evoke? The last frontier? Wide open spaces (with “room to make big mistakes,” as the Dixie Chicks so memorably put it)? Outdoors in the mountains, skiing, fishing, hiking, climbing, trail running? Or maybe opportunity? New subdivisions sprouting on barren tracts of prairie? Jobs, businesses, entrepreneurs? A great place to work, play, raise your kids, enjoy the good life?
These folks have ruled their markets for decades — for more than a century, by some accounts. The product they sell is in many ways indistinguishable from similar products marketed by hundreds, even thousands, of competitors. But, by restricting access to their products and by sophisticated pricing strategies, they’ve created an enormous demand reservoir.
We all know this particular story — globalization, the world is flat, everything has changed, the new paradigm, fast-cycle technology — whatever you want to call it. The details might be complex, but the story’s simple. If you have a job, own a business or participate in any way in the economy (this means everybody but a few Ted Kaczynskis out in the woods, as long as they don’t need supplies for letter bombs), you’d best be paying attention.
You’d think we’d be drowning in lavishly funded projects of dubious national benefit, wouldn’t you? After all, we’re a staunchly Republican city, represented for more than 20 years by a Republican congressman, with at least one, and often two, Republican senators from Colorado.
With an eloquence foreign to modern Americans, poetic, inspirational and deeply moving, MacArthur recalls the sacrifices of generations past, and calls upon his listeners to live by the noble principles for which so many had given their lives.
Growing up in Colorado Springs in the 1950s, I dated a girl named Nancy Shoup. Nancy’s dad, Merrill Shoup, the son of Gov. Oliver Shoup, was one of our small city’s leading businessmen. CEO and chairman of the Holly Sugar Corp., he served on half-a-dozen boards and was an ardent conservative, at a time when “conservative wasn’t cool.” Mr. Shoup, who was fond of my parents and grandparents, took it upon himself to teach me about business, fearing that I’d become dangerously liberal.
For sheer weirdness, it’s hard to imagine a Colorado political season as wacky as this one. Consider the following: The GOP nominated a respected, amiable two-term congressman, Bob Beauprez, as their gubernatorial candidate. Nothing in Beauprez’ history suggested that he’d be anything other than a competent contender. In fact, just a few months ago, the Democrats were in despair because popular Denver mayor, John Hickenlooper, had declined to run, ceding the nomination by default to the little-known Denver district attorney, Bill Ritter.