Here in peaceful, progrressive Boulder, two commissioners' seats are coming open next election. Commissioners are important officers: they directly govern the half of our citizens who live in unincorporated areas of the county, they employ 1800 people and administer a $300 million budget, they manage all the social services, and they set policy on land use, open space, transportation, etc. They also put out fires.
Even though we're six months away from the primary, campaigning is well under way. And should be. Deciding on he right county officer is important. We're a functioning democracy.
This afternoon there was a forum to allow the six candidates to answer questions and state their views. But just as the meeting was called to order, we were "occupied."
About fifty or sixty people filed into the room, took up places around the perimeter, interrupted the moderator and announced that they had a statement to make, which they did in a peculiar and theatrical manner. Their leader read a few words, and then the rest of the folks repeated the same phrase, in chorus. Their demands were well known: control the big banks, put an end to corporate dominance, stop the foreclosures, support the homeless, reduce pollution, prohibit fracking, end uranium mining, and prevent any GMO crops from being grown in Boulder County.
Then they left. Just vanished.
And so we got back to work.
What was so odd is that every single one of the candidates stated positions that were at least as far to the left, and sometimes further to the left, than the Occupiers -- which makes me wonder whether these very sincere folks wouldn't be doing more good by helping us stuff the envelopes and do the lit drops and help with the GOTV. To tell the exact truth, I found it just a little offensive to be hectored so dramatically by political novices.
At very least, the "Occupiers" should give up the choral speaking, which sounds not like thoughtfulness but rather like authoritarian groupspeak. A little dictatorial.
As the political philosopher and social critic Doll Tearsheet long ago remarked, "the word occupy... was an excellent good word before it was ill sorted."