The Colorado Civic Barbecue - Let's Make Politics Fun Again

By Bzdek, Vince | The Gazette (Colorado Springs, CO), May 12, 2018 | Go to article overview

The Colorado Civic Barbecue - Let's Make Politics Fun Again


Bzdek, Vince, The Gazette (Colorado Springs, CO)


On the first Sunday in May, Swiss citizens throughout that mountainous, cow-happy country merrily gather in their town squares to drink beer, show off their swords and practice democracy. They call it the Landsgemeinde, and they've been doing it since about 1294.

Essentially the Swiss have turned election day into a party, with sausages, pastries, yodeling and an oompah band.

Everyone who shows up gets a say on whatever issues the town faces. All you have to do in some cantons to demonstrate your eligibility to vote is to bring your sword, bayonet or sidearm. After a period of spirited face-to-face, open-air debate, major town decisions are made by a show of hands.

In other words, democracy is pretty damn fun in Switzerland.

The Gazette, Colorado Politics and El Pomar's Forum for Civic Advancement, taking some inspiration from our high-altitude friends, are determined to make democracy in Colorado a bit more fun this year.

On May 19, we are launching an annual Colorado Civic Barbecue at the Garden Pavilion at Penrose House, 1661 Mesa Ave. It's a doubleheader, with a Republican candidates' debate for governor in the morning and a Democratic gubernatorial debate in the afternoon. Between the two, we'll host a free barbecue on the grounds of the Penrose House enlivened by a bluegrass band.

We are trying to make civic discussions casual, civil and fun again, subtitling our event: "Apple Pie, Issues and Banjos. …

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