Ready to exhale, Grand County? Take heart, Election 2008 is almost history

Drew Munro / Open Range
Grand County, Colorado

Grand County, Colorado ” It’s been a long time coming ” an eternity, really ” but Election 2008 is almost history. Before we all exhale next Wednesday, here are a few observations:

The privilege of voting in a “purple” state such as Colorado should not be taken for granted. Having spent the two most recent presidential elections in places where the outcome of statewide races was never in doubt, I can tell you that voting here is pure joy.

While filling in my ballot the other day, I was imbued with a profound sense of how much my vote matters again ” in all the races on the ballot, not just local and regional ones. When one party or the other enjoys something on the order of an 80 percent advantage, it taints the essence of the democratic exercise of voting.

Coloradans ought to count their blessings that we live where political give-and-take is part of the landscape and bipartisanship is, by necessity, part of the fabric of everyday political life.

Ahh, it’s good to be back home.

Speaking of red state, blue state, for-us or against-us politics: It seems the closer we get to Election Day, the harder legions of political foot soldiers are working to pigeon hole Americans as exclusively one dimensional.

Here’s a news flash for all those political party animals out there: As many or more of us, at least in Colorado, are unaffiliated and proud of it than on either of your bandwagons.

While many party loyalists are fond of saying the unaffiliated are copping out, the truth is many of us, including some of those who affiliate out of habit or a sense of duty, would prefer to cherry pick components from each party’s platform and simply cannot abide other components or the platforms as a whole.

I’m quite certain America would have a thriving third party if a consensus would emerge about just which components those of us in the great, unwashed middle would prefer. But I’m not holding my breath.

Nasty, nasty, nasty. This is one of the more bitter, polarizing elections I remember.

We all need to bear in mind that when the dust settles we’ve got some important business to conduct, and that the vast majority of candidates are decent, civic-minded people who want to improve this nation.

That may be complicated by the fact that when politicians look across the aisle in January, they will see a party that has spent the past 20 months characterizing them as spawn of Satan.

How easy it is among the Sturm and Drang of this election cycle to forget that, ultimately, we’re all in this together and we all need to forge compromises for the common good.

If, on the other hand, the two parties are more interested in gloating or recriminations, we’ll all suffer the consequences.

Take this job and … As the two presidential contenders enter the final days in their war of attrition, I can’t help but think this contest falls into the category of be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it.

Whoever prevails is going to inherit one heck of a mess. It seems to me, absent an event that unites Americans in common spirit, the next president runs a serious risk of being a one-term wonder.

And finally, for goodness sake, get out and vote. As cliche as it sounds, it is absolutely true this year: Few elections have offered such clear choices with so much on the line.

” Drew Munro is news editor of the Sky-Hi Daily News. He can be reached at 887-3334 ext. 19610 or

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