Skip to content

LTE: Finding kindness in local politics

This is how democracy was envisioned so many years ago.
In-Person Council 6-29 (12 of 24)

The Longmont Leader accepts contributions, photos, letters to the editor, or LTEs, and op-eds for publication from community members, business leaders and public officials on local topics. Publication will be at the discretion of the editor and published opinions do not represent the views of the Longmont Leader or its staff. To submit a contribution, email [email protected].

I’ve been thinking again about kindness, especially after reading the short sort of prayer book by the Dalai Lama called Heart to Heart.

I was thinking about it as I was watching our Longmont city council meeting via video recently. Each week the council allows members of the public to speak for a maximum of three minutes each on any topic they’d like. Based on some of the viral YouTube videos that make the news you’d think that there would be a lot of anger out there, but I honestly haven’t seen it.

People are generally respectful. I especially enjoy two gentleman who are sort of regulars during this part of the meeting: Strider and Steve. Strider is a social justice warrior who survived a bad beating on the Edmund Pettis Bridge in Selma, Alabama 50 years ago. He recently recited an original poem that was powerful. Steve is a conservative business owner in town whom I’ve talked to about climate change at a tabling event once (while he was wearing his ‘Make America Great Again’ cap).

Both men consistently bring up great points and have presented some potentially good ideas. You would think that Steve would be angry as a conservative in a very progressive county; but he consistently is respectful and calm in laying out his views of how things need to change. In my conversation with him about climate change we had a great discussion and listened to each other’s views.

This is how democracy was envisioned so many years ago. Smart people exchanging differing views on important topics. Granted, our city council leans to the left, so I imagine conservatives will never be quite satisfied until that changes. But my suggestion is to show up at these meetings and respectfully present your concerns and possible solutions. We need good ideas from both conservatives and progressives to make our world a livable place for all members of our community. I encourage everyone to attend a local council meeting wherever you live, and then to respectfully contribute to those meetings if you can. It’s a great way to be part of a democracy.

Michael Clinton