“Sooner or later, there comes a point in a man’s life when he’s gotta face some facts, and one fact I gotta face is that whatever it is that women like, I ain’t got it.” — “Marty” by Paddy Chayefsky
For me, women and political parties: Over the last four decades, I’ve really tried with a couple of each, and whatever it is that they like, I ain’t got it.
Last week, an article here in The Colorado Statesman about my disagreement with my county chair and district captain brought this, again, forcefully to my attention.
Therefore, I’ve resigned from my leadership positions in my most recent party and changed my voter registration. Instead of working within one of the parties, I’m going to focus on what I can do to be of greatest service: increasing the informed participation of newcomers in both major political parties.
Although I recommend that everyone affiliate as a Republican or Democrat by the deadline of Jan. 19 and attend their neighborhood caucus on March 16, since my work will now focus on education, to be fair, I’ve changed my own party status to unaffiliated.
In the ’60s and ’70s, my neighbor, Lyle Lindesmith, led the Action Class in Practical Politics with material published by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. I helped Lyle with what may have been his last session, at the old Denver Petroleum Club. One student was the now-former state legislator and current Denver City Councilperson Jeanne Faatz, who was, back then, just starting to think about running.
I’ve seen our Colorado Caucus system at its best, learning from Lyle, my neighbor in the next precinct, National Committeewoman Jo Anne Gray, and the network of block workers in the precinct I inherited as a new committeeperson. That’s why I helped start Save the Caucus, which defeated Amendment 29 in 2002, which would have changed Colorado to a petition-only state, along with most of the rest of the country.
I remember a man taking anti-29 literature from me at one of the state conventions.
“Yes, I’ll support you on this,” he said. “People here in Colorado don’t realize what a great system we have. I’m from California, and there we never see local candidates. They just get petitions signed and run ads, and we never even shake their hand.”
Our caucus-assembly method for nominating to the primary ballot is the full flowering of the system of representative government that the founders had in mind. It offers the best chance for the common citizen to get involved and to make a real difference. It forces the highest level of accountability from our elected representatives.
We’ve saved the caucus, at least for now. The job now is to strengthen it by increasing the understanding and effectiveness of party leadership at all levels.
President Dwight Eisenhower said that in our system of government, politics must be the part-time occupation of every citizen. Do you want to get more involved? Learn from my mistakes.
I’m going to look for opportunities to share my 35 years of experience through mentoring, teaching, public speaking and writing, and I want to start another weekly radio show. (Did you ever listen to my business and the arts show, “John Wren’s Journal?”) The new show will have guests and on-air discussions about Colorado grassroots politics, the Colorado caucus and how ballot access works in other states. If you or someone you know wants to help, please contact me.