June 14, 2014

Joe Neguse for Secretary of State: Antidote to Bullies and Brats.

The author and the candidate

Keeping extreme politics at bay in Colorado will require vigilance and the “R” word.

Responsible citizen engagement is the obligation we all share in a free republic. Let’s not back slide into the attitude of resignation—remember, we deserve the government we allow.

The Tea Party is giddy and energized in the wake of the ousting of Eric Cantor. The outcome of the Republican primary election was received by the media, the politicians and the public as a jolt, practically a lightening bolt. It rattled my cage enough to jump back into writing about it, just when I thought I was over divisive politics and the polarized landscape of our fragile democracy.

The position of House Majority Leader was invented in 1899.  This is the first and only time in 115 years that a sitting House majority leader was defeated in a primary election. David Brat is the Tea Party candidate who didn’t think Cantor was sufficiently conservative to represent the agenda of the ultra right wing.

How ironic that his name is Brat. Really? How exquisitely revealing. Am I the only one who perceives the Tea Party activists as spoiled brats who are ideologically rigid, inflexible and demanding they get their way? If they don’t, they resort to recall elections or stonewalling any progress on important issues; all the while hiding behind sound bites about their faith, patriotism and family values.

Is this too harsh an assessment? After all, aren’t we all attached to our ideological preferences? The central question remains: Can we evolve to a level of enlightened self-interest where the needs, rights and privileges of the individual converge with the well being of the larger community?

Professor Brat attributes the outcome of this primary vote to a miracle delivered by God, in addition to his adamant, no compromise position on issues, namely the question of amnesty for immigrants. His students at the small College where he teaches economics say he is a fanatical advocate of unregulated, unrestrained “free markets” and privatization of everything.

Do we really want to roll back the clock to the time of King Louis XIV? Or, entertain the agenda to repeal the New Deal, as laissez-faire capitalism perpetuates unfettered Wall Street style selfishness and greed? The Tea Party worldview believes in the infallible nature of the old-world-order which honors power and privilege as long as it isn’t concentrated in the hands of the government. What does it matter if power and privilege is concentrated in the private or public sector? The concentration of power is the issue. Ponder the negative impact of continuing to celebrate the brilliance of the triumphant individual, the braggadocio of the lone-wolf-entrepreneur, resentful of lazy “parasites and moochers” in our society.

This world view believes in the infallible nature of the old-world-order which honors power and privilege. Ponder the negative impact of continuing to celebrate the brilliance of the triumphant individual, the braggadocio of the lone-wolf-entrepreneur resentful of lazy “parasites and moochers” in our society.

What’s Joe Neguse got to do with all of this turmoil and controversy? Nothing really, absolutely nothing, unless you see all of these issues through a whole-systems integral lens and connect the dots. From my vantage point, Joe Neguse wants to cut through the divisive mind-set and grid-lock of polarized politics.  Joe is motivated by a deeper set of principles. Listen to his own words about the bedrock of democracy and the right to vote:

Setting aside the national political arena and all it’s drama for the moment,  I’d like to elaborate upon what’s happening in Colorado. I attended a fine and fancy fund raiser for Joe Neguse, the candidate for Secretary of State, recently profiled by the Denver Post. Here’s my assessment: he’s a vital, articulate, bright young attorney who most recently served as a Regent for the University of Colorado. Imagine that, a politician who actually believes in the importance of education and participated directly in the process of making it better.

Often, the question arises; who cares about a Secretary of State candidate?


It’s simple when you think about it. Secretaries of State oversee voter registration and administer elections. Joe is an advocate for transparency, openness and the right to vote for all Americans. Remember Florida’s role in the Gore vs. Bush 2000 election—need I say more?

Katharine Harris, the Republican Secretary of State was up to all kinds of mischief and manipulation of the cherished principles of our electoral process. Political operatives on the extreme right care a great deal about who controls our polling place and oversees the ballot box. Perhaps, this is the primary reason to be wary of Joe Neguse’s political opponent.

Nothing short of the public’s faith in the fairness of American elections is at stake.

One organization in particular has set its sites on getting as many “conservative” Secretaries of State elected as possible. Colorado is one of their “target” states. Ostensibly, they want to make it extremely difficult to vote by activating various strategies. The organization is called SOS for SoS. 

The founder of this drive to make it possible to influence the outcome of elections in nine states was the founder of another right wing strategic PAC to support Newt Gingrich. Remember him?  He wanted to de-fund National Public Radio, PBS and the National Endowment for the Arts. Not to mention his push to cripple public education among other choice priorities. Why? Ostensibly to keep the American people uninformed by public discourse, allowing paid political propaganda to win the day. Mr. Gingrich and the SOS PAC would probably find a way to spin Thomas Jefferson’s admonition:

“I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power.”  [And I might add, the corrupting influence of Corporate Power.]

― Thomas JeffersonLetters of Thomas Jefferson

Although I haven’t posted for awhile, I’ll end with my customary highly satirical and cynical song for your enjoyment—beware, it could rattle your cage (gotta love Randy Newman’s, “I’m Dreaming”).


Onward with Courage



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Editor: Travis May

Photos: Provided by author

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