7 steps to better government - Albuquerque Journal

7 steps to better government

We are a group of citizens living in Grand Junction, Colo. We are Republicans, Democrats and those unaffiliated with a party. We are conservatives, moderates, and liberals. Many of us have long been active in politics while some of us have been uninvolved – until now. But today, we agree we must speak out about a serious threat facing western Colorado and many other communities, including Albuquerque and the rest of New Mexico.

Political extremism is that threat. It has fueled hatred. It has promoted false conspiracies and lies. It has turned family, friends and neighbors against each other. And it must stop.

We want to be clear. We are not against principled partisanship from any political party or interest group. We are against any extremism whether from the left or right.

Yes, this is political, but it’s not only about politics. Fundamentally, it is about how we treat each other. Call it civility, respect or plain good manners. Democracy cannot survive without it. Speaking up publicly against extremism right now is essential. Silence emboldens extremists. The last few years have shown it will not go away just by hoping it will. We must do more.

Extremism is an issue facing the entire country. But our best chance of influencing change is by focusing on the local level. If more of us become involved, we can rebuild politics in our local communities. It is possible to return to a sane and functional government.

We must do more than simply be against extremism. We must embrace an alternative set of political principles. We, the undersigned, agree these seven beliefs should guide us:

1. We believe political parties should vigorously compete over values, principles, and ideas but also find common ground to solve problems and pass needed legislation. Gridlock is not an option.

2. We believe facts, supported by irrefutable evidence, are the basis for what to believe and how to act. No civilization can endure when its citizens believe there is no such thing as objective facts or truths.

3. We believe no one has a monopoly on the best public policy proposals. That means the ability to listen to and understand both sides of a debate are a prerequisite to finding practical solutions.

4. We believe public interest must come before party interest. This means putting what is right ahead of loyalty to a party or an individual party leader.

5. We believe problem-solving is more important than fund-raising. Extremists line their pockets then use the funds to amplify division instead of producing solutions.

6. We believe citizens should be free to run for office or volunteer to support the candidate of their choice without being threatened or harassed. Extremism uses intimidation because it cannot stand up to independent, open-minded thinking. Instead, it relies on the mentality of the mob.

7. We believe it is time to expect citizens to embrace individual responsibility. Extremists always talk about “freedom,” but never mention the responsibility to the community that comes with it.

We, the undersigned, pledge:

• To support candidates who best embody these beliefs – regardless of political party.

• To urge family and friends to oppose political extremism as if the well-being of the nation depends on it.

• To speak up and speak out publicly, with friends over coffee or more publicly in media.

• To get involved, vote and volunteer.

Endorse the pledge and have your voice heard. Go to restorethebalance.org to endorse the pledge.

George Orbanek is the former editor and publisher of The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel (1985-2008). He is a center-right independent. Tim Sarmo is a former regional manager for the Colorado Department of Local Affairs. He was a longtime Democrat but is now unaffiliated. Both authors are founding members of Restorethebalance.org.

Home » Opinion » Guest Columns » 7 steps to better government

Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

Historic locomotive Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe 2926 almost ...
The AT&SF 2926 was built in ... The AT&SF 2926 was built in 1944 and ran a million miles in the American Southwest before being retired to an Albuquerque park in ...
New Mexico town fiercely protective of its land and ...
Chilili's name is not to be ... Chilili's name is not to be confused with another small town in northern New Mexico called Chili, or the delicious condiment we put on ...
Eliminating mimosa seed pods can help larvae in check
Earlier this year you had some ... Earlier this year you had some sort of adult insects lay eggs throughout the mimosa, probably just at the spot where the flowers extended ...
'Grounded' explores the struggle between war and family
Fusion Theatre Company is staging 'Grounded' ... Fusion Theatre Company is staging 'Grounded' beginning on Friday, Oct. 7, at The Cell Theatre. The play runs on weekends through Oct. 16. 'Grounded' ...
'When the Dogs Stop Barking' explores the humanitarian crisis ...
Open at 516 ARTS through Dec. ... Open at 516 ARTS through Dec. 31, 'When the Dogs Stop Barking' exhibits the work of five artists exploring this humanitarian crisis spanning 1,954 ...
'Migratory' pairs the migration of plants and animals with ...
'Migratory,' developed by Mexico City artist ... 'Migratory,' developed by Mexico City artist Minerva Cuevas, will run at 516 ARTS through Dec. 31.
The third Fixed and Free Quarterly features a collection ...
Fifty-nine poets – the ... Fifty-nine poets – the majority from New Mexico – contributed the 112 poems that spice up the third and most ...
Via Ferrata, like the one in Telluride, are a ...
Via ferratas started in Italy during ... Via ferratas started in Italy during World War I to allow troops to pass through rugged alpine areas, the idea spread across Europe and ...
New immersive experience lets eventgoers interact with the legendary ...
The Georgia O'Keeffe Museum saw an ... The Georgia O'Keeffe Museum saw an opportunity to work with Albuquerque-based Electric Playhouse to create 'Music For The Eyes: A New Georgia O'Keeffe Experience