Karin Mitchell's books on Goodreads
Between Families Between Families
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ratings: 8 (avg rating 4.75)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Diversity Paradox

This past Saturday I attended Colorado's 2nd District's Assembly and Convention. There are two state conventions: Congressional District, and State Convention. They take place over back to back weekends. Delegates and alternates attend both. Also, elections for national delegate as well as elections to the Electoral College take place at these events. More importantly, elections for the democratic candidates for State Congress, Regent, and Democratic Presidential Candidates are held. As we all know, this is an energetic time in politics and people are turning out in droves, tripling expected turnouts. These people want to be involved, desperately. Many of them want to be involved by going to the National Convention for their candidate and that's great.

Our district is comprised of mostly mountain areas but also includes parts of Boulder County, and Jefferson County (both in the Front Range metropolitan area.) Boulder county of course is where CU's main campus is located. As a result there were many CU students heavily involved in the campaign. They carefully planned a strategic way to get four of their group elected to go to the National Convention. Because there are so many rural areas in the district, however, many of these communities are upset at their tactics as it means all the representation to the convention will be from a small portion of the district. It was annoying to watch the nicknamed "Bobbsy quadrupletts," happy, rich, CU brats win all the seats. However, one woman in Summit (in my opinion) took it too far. She appeared last night at the monthly meeting of the High Country Democrats in order to present her plan for challenging the election (for National Delegates- something really not all that changing for the reality of people's daily lives) based on Affirmative Action. "How did this white woman present such an idea?" you may ask. Based on geography and age. And well that's great, but seriously with mine water ready to burst, pine beetles destroying our forest creating the promise of a SERIOUS wildfire season, and all the other real business to attend to... really?

What struck me most at the convention, beyond the arcane process and the boring lulls, (thanks to Maya for listening to me chatter,) was the diversity of candidates. Running for State Congress we have a gay man, running for Regent we had two young African American men. Speaking on behalf of the Clinton campaign we had an older African American. Speaking on behalf of the Obama campaign we had a Hispanic American. Running for National Delegate we had a Holocaust survivor/Vietnam Vet, a deaf woman, a man in a wheel chair, a deaf man, a number of hispanics, a number of African Americans, we had every age group, and some garden variety whities. It was truly remarkable. So while the results of the National Delegate election may have turned out less than diverse, the running has been miraculous to watch. Maybe we will turn a corner.

In the mean time I clearly took something very different away from the experience than some people, which churns up a diversity paradox: Do you focus on the Nondiversity University of challenging nearly meaningless elections or on the power of such a diverse set of candidates? I know I've made my choice.

Besides next weekend we elect more National Delegates in Colorado Springs.

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