Sunday, April 22, 2012

Regarding debates in general...

There’s been a lot of discussion surrounding the race between myself and Mayor David Coss.  Unfortunately, instead of focusing on what the people of our community need, recently there's been a lot of unnecessary rancor and political posturing regarding debates and forums.  Many of you know already that we declined the invitation to participate in a Santa Fe Democratic Party-sponsored forum tomorrow evening.  You can read our response in more detail here. (
Looking back on our letter to the Santa Fe Democratic Party, we realize that while we said we’d be happy to debate if a balanced, fair approach could be crafted, we’re now realizing that we have some concerns that the increasing focus on “gladiator style” debates that pit one candidate against another in an adversarial format may do more harm than good to our democracy.
It’s understandable that many people associate debates with campaigns.  Our system of government is founded on the ideal of a free exchange of ideas, and debates seem like a reasonable way to do that. 

We’re not so sure that’s true.
As we talked about the debate idea with our supporters and volunteers, we hear the same thing over and over again:  that a big part of the reason we’re in the mess that we’re in right now as a nation and more specifically as a state, is that politicians spend way too much time arguing their entrenched issue positions amongst themselves like gladiators in an arena (with the people as mere spectators) and not nearly enough time listening to and representing the opinions and concerns of the people they’ve been elected to serve.

It’s probably safe to say that we’ve all seen the results of this “gladiator style” approach:  partisan gridlock, a national political dialogue that’s become so toxic that regular people don’t even want to engage in the process anymore.  And an inflexibility with regard to issues and policies on both sides of the aisle that results in a standoff in which nothing gets done.
Our campaign is about trying, in some small way, to start to change that.
By listening instead of arguing. 

By finding ways to work together instead of digging into our specific issue positions.
By encouraging people of our community to participate in a democratic process that’s healthy, respectful and inclusive.

If you’ve visited our website, you’ve probably noticed that our “Vision” page is a little different from most.  It doesn’t include very many “this is my position” statements like you’d expect to see on a candidate’s website.

That’s because Carl Trujillo is a citizen candidate and he’s running to be a citizen representative.  That means he wants to represent the voices, concerns and ideas of the people, not further his own political agenda by arguing about entrenched issue positions.

Our supporters have some serious disagreements with Mayor David Coss and the outdated political system that he represents, particularly when it comes to issues of integrity and transparency. These issues won’t be resolved in the context of a toxic, gladiator-style debate in which everybody focuses on scoring points rather than listening to the people.
Our campaign is not about fighting. It’s about fairness.

It’s not about partisanship. It’s about people.

It's not about issues. It's about inclusion. 

So we’re going to honor the instincts of our supporters, and have decided to make it official:  In this election, we aren’t going to participate in debates that pit one person against the other in a gladiator-style arena.

We’d love to participate in any event which focuses on providing an opportunity for the people to share their hopes, dreams, ideas and concerns with us, and to have a genuine dialogue about what they want and need from our state government.

Which is why we’ve been focusing a lot on attending listening parties in people’s homes, and spending a lot of time going door to door to hear what’s on the minds of the people of our community.

We realize that making this decision comes with a political cost and that not everyone will share our point of view.  That’s a price we’re willing to pay to start to change things, and we’re hoping that those of you who feel like we do about the toxic nature of our current political system might agree.

That’s why we’d like to invite all of you to come to our Community Listening Party this Monday starting at 6 p.m. and ending whenever, at the O House Restaurant in Pojoaque.  We’ll have (really good) pizza and refreshments, and lots of time to meet Carl and his volunteers and to have a real conversation about your ideas and thoughts.

We hope you’ll join us!

Monday, April 23
6:00 to whenever
O Eating House (Pojoaque)
78 Cities of Gold Rd  87506