Myriah Conroy – TRANSCRIPT:
I’d like to share with you my remedy for fear and loathing in the political process. People often ask me how I can stay so involved in politics and remain upbeat.
I mean, isn’t it discouraging, depressing, corrupt? Well, I can find it all of those things, like I’m sure you can. I’d like to offer my take on re-engaging democracy. The negative campaign just doesn’t speak to me, and I don’t think it probably speaks to you either. But the problem here is that we don’t know what information is reliable. Should we trust “A Brighter Future for Colorado”, or “Coloradans for a Brighter Future”? This is a game that our political game designed to make us feel helpless and afraid.
And I’m just too busy for that I’m busy pitching in. There are children to raise, gardens to grow, bikes to ride, farmers’ markets to peruse. My politics are about being closely connected to the communities of Boulder, in Colorado — our children, air, land, water, rights to be free — and being an advocate on their behalf. So, I say: “Spot the frame, and step around it.”
Let me give you some examples from my experience and my practice. I say: challenge unrealistic promises. When I first heard that commuter rail was coming to the front range, I mean, I got all tingly inside. Unfortunately, that one didn’t turn out quite as we expected. I mean, how could a campaign go so far off the rails? They said that, for 47 billion dollars, we’d have commuter rail in Boulder by 2017. But now, it’s not scheduled for completion until 2042, for 6,5 billion dollars. Boo! You do have to approach politics with a healthy dose of skepticism. And for me, that brings up HAVA: the Help America Vote Act. Are you having trouble voting? I’m not having trouble voting.
But this is that federal law that popularized electronic voting and we wound up voting systems that help dead people vote, and magically switch votes for voters without their even knowing. I say: trust, but verify. And if you can’t understand the frame, step around it, and always vote on paper. You want to build a strong team and finish together. So, this one is about “Cleaner Air Cheaper Energy.”
Maybe you remember this from back in 2004. “Cleaner Air, Cheaper Energy,” I mean, who’s not for that? I’m for that. Unfortunately, this one didn’t turn out as we expected, because our supposed campaign allies made backroom deals, weakened the initiative, because they didn’t trust voters and the utilities to do the right thing. On the bright side here, however, all of the amazing volunteer efforts, tremendous work, educated Coloradans to be smarter and more educated, more comfortable with renewables. Don’t worry, Boulder. We’re going to get another chance for “Cleaner Air and Cheaper Energy” next month, when ballots drop, mid October.
So, let’s just see if we can spot that frame. So, voters tend to do the right thing, you know, once we feel informed and we understand the issue. So, for me, I feel comfortable with campaigns, once I can understand the numbers. So, you know, there are people campaigns and then there are corporate campaigns.
And while certainly not all corporate campaigns are bad, and not all people are good, the money is a good indication of which way that campaign is going to go. So, you know, fear and loathing can not be the conduit for positive social engagement, but smart and engaged voters can be. So, I say: let’s create a new frame that invigorates and excites us. The thing that excites me in this process is the community making: boots on the ground, door-knocking, phone banking, interactions with neighbors, friends and family. United round ideas that we care about in our hearts, not because somebody told us to believe that.
So, I say: let’s re-engage democracy, ignore the fear and loathing, bake a cake to share, and let’s help rebuild our communities. Thank you very much.