Another Blow to Democracy in the Heartland

America was founded on the principles of democracy and the machinery of the republic. The citizens’ right to vote remains sacred to our country, but this fundamental duty and privileged continues to be compromised. Nationalism in general and Americanism in particular continue to suffer erosion born of infrastructure and administrative problems within our local governmental bodies.

KeithKingWeb(1)(1)One of the most recent and egregious examples of this can be seen in the City of Colorado Springs. Apparently, Colorado Springs can no longer afford to allow its citizens to vote. City Council President Keith King has stated via email that the City of Colorado Springs cannot afford to join the state elections in November. Apparently, the city has a budget shortfall of roughly $200,000 for the current fiscal year. According to King and experts in the county, it could cost up to $750,000 for us to add a local issues ballot insertion into the 2014 November ballot.

At this, many citizens might be confused, dismayed, or even outraged. Colorado Springs truly dug itself into a fiscal hole, and now we’re faced with the reality of the situation. We’ve a nearly ineffectual City Council and a corrupt administration. The Judicial Branch in our city is an underfunded joke, so Administration and Council are embroiled in dramatic power plays to control a community on the verge of bankruptcy. What many struggle to understand is how we can allow our political ideals to divide us when we’re on the brink of local governmental collapse. For this very reason, the Judicial branch is meant to keep the other two in check, and the system of checks and balances is failing in our city.

Of course, even if this slightly overstates the issue, the fact remains that our city doesn’t have enough money because of rifts between factions in government. All too often, the Republican versus Democrat phenomenon divides us, thus leading to ineffectiveness. We may not even be granted allowance to vote in the next election if things do not change for the better, and fast. In addition, we must begin building our infrastructure to ensure basic public safety by repairing bridges, fixing potholes, establishing regular bus routes, and keeping the streets policed and well-lit.

These are all very basic functions of government, and mismanagement of our city is the root cause. As citizens, we have the responsibility to hold our officials to account when they abuse their authority. As a community, we can change the conversation to find common ground and create a better city for our families. The true insanity is that this may boil down to a suffrage issue. Do citizens have the right to vote even when their cities cannot afford it? Perhaps this marks a new suffrage movement — suffrage for the poor.

With no end to the fiscal crisis in sight, how long do you advise us to wait to vote, President King?