Monday, January 08, 2018

The Colorado Caucus: a proposal to save it from John Wren.

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What's on my mind this morning is the Colorado Caucus. (As you may know because it was given so
much media attention at the time-- just kidding-- I created this Wikipedia article a couple of years ago.)

Why do I have Caucus on my mind this morning? Here are a couple of the reasons why and a hint about a big, big idea to save the caucus, really save it
this time, and at the same time to make every Colorado neighborhood a better neighborhood:

1. Did you read this Wall Street Journal column over the weekend? In it we are told that “amid disruption
and decentralization, don’t neglect the benefits of hierarchy.” In other words structure beats chaos.

This after decades of being told to thrive on chaos.

I’m face-to-face with the question of hierarchy again thinking about the hubris of writing this to you right
now, instead of  just sharing these thoughts at a Socrates Cafe or a Franklin Circle as I have for this
past couple of decades.  

It seems like I’ve wrestled with hierarchy and authority ever since my bride walked towards me fifty years ago and
our classmate from Cornell College started playing Trumpet Voluntary.

2.  Another factor that has sparked my thinking about the Caucus this morning, money:

Ronald Rolheiser in his meditation this morning on the baptism of the first Christian that we are each
the beloved. And we have been, just as John the Baptist had been, but in Rolheiser’s gospel passage
this morning John said he was a slave. What gives John this humility?

Anyone who has watched MindHunter on Netflix knows the answer: his mother.

John the Baptist was born a few months before Jesus, but he never has the financial success Jesus
enjoyed. (If you don’t think Jesus had to worry about money just because he could make water into
wine and the rest didn’t think carefully about what happened immediately after Jesus’ baptism,
spending 40 days in the desert and getting clear it was not ok to use his power like a North Korean

Two Jewish mothers, one telling those around him just before his first miracle, when his fundraising
project was just getting off the ground, “do whatever he tells you.” Is it any wonder John stayed humble?

As a consultant I’ve helped newspapers convert from free to paid circulation. It is very difficult. We all
find it difficult to start paying for what we’ve alway gotten for free. There are other examples of this.
One in particular comes to my mind.

But getting payment for something that has been free is not impossible. I know because of my
newspaper experience, among other things. It's difficult, but it can be done.

Years ago I tried to get contributions from those who attended one of the Socrates Cafes I’d organized.
Made a compelling, I thought, argument on a flier, gave it to everyone at the end of the 90 minute
gathering along with a 30 second “elevator talk” about why I deserve to be paid. Big mistake. One man
who had been attending regularly himself and had even started bringing his, it seemed to me, wealthy
parents, he never came back after my appeal.

Maybe it would have gone better if I’d served them wine.

All this to warm you up for my new, big, free idea: why not franchise the Colorado Caucus?

Don’t judge this until I give you the details. But don’t forget, if you want to get in on the ground floor you
have to affiliate with one of the major political parties by midnight today. You can do it online.

In Denver I suggest you become a Democrat, In Douglas County a Republican, at least I think that’s still
the majority party there. Gerrymandering? I can't figure out how they do it with county lines.

I’ll tell you more here tomorrow. In the meantime, share this with your friends. Print copies, share it on
the Internet, feature it in your newspaper. Whoever reads it because of you will most likely thank you,
and so will I tomorrow right here if you let me know what you’ve done.

“I’m not a member of any organized political party. I’m a Democrat.” Will Rogers

John Wren is a long-time community activist. He has created front page news throughout his life, starting
when he was a Senior at Thomas Jefferson High School and his picture was on the front page of the Rocky Mountain News
and featured in the Denver Post. When he was in graduate school at the University of Denver he helped Karl Rove give
College Republican workshops that were so effective they were called “dirty tricks” in the Washington Post. Yesterday he
became a Democrat. again. You can too, click here to register to vote or to change your party affiliation. FROM JOHN WREN:
"After reading the Wall Street Journal this weekend and thinking about the baptism of Jesus this morning I have decided to try
a daily newspaper column one last time. We’ll see. Tears come to my eyes as I write the above as the thought comes of my friend Gene Amole saying, “Good luck with it pal. Be sure to sit by a Catholic girl if you can, and it seems to me that would be the only reason to ever  let some paper force you into a newsroom.”

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