I have been reading the online comments to the afore posted "press release" on various outlets and came across this one: "Just when I thought this ballot drama would go away, a new distraction comes in the form of a lawsuit. Now, with the pro bono help from respected counsel, Ms. Riddle can blame an unfair system for her ballot plight. Win or lose, it will not change the fact that she is fully responsible for creating her own untenable position." (County Taxpayer says on the Durango Herald online).
Now any good political advisor would tell me to not repeat "bad press", clearly I don't have a political advisor and may need to get one--- but it really got me thinking about how some people view my situation. Here, in a few words I hope to better explain.
One, I don't feel like I am in an untenable situation, I am truly glad to be where I am and take full responsibility for it. I didn't know that I had missed the deadline when I disaffiliated, because I felt like I had no other choice and couldn't continue with how things were going--and that was truly the untenable position that I found myself wanting to escape. Frankly one thing I did know was that I was loosing my passion for my job and finding myself not wanting to consider running for election again if it was to continue on those same terms. I noticed more and more how uncomfortable I was with the unwritten rules of the party do's and dont's.
As was also mentioned in a letter to the editor by Ann Markward, who I served with when I was Chair of the Democratic Executive Committee. Ann and I shared many hard-working and rewarding times together, at least from my perspective and it was tough to hear her viewpoint on this one, especially when we hadn't spoken about any of it prior to her letter. She states that "Riddle campaigned for and elected by Democrats, was expected to represent everyone in this county from a-surprise!-Democratic perspective." (Durango Herald newspaper Tuesday, 11-17-09 Letters to the editor)
Ironically enough, that was exactly what I thought I had been doing for the last three years---I thought I was representing everyone in this county from a Democratic perspective! One thing that I believed about being a Democrat was that, among other things we embraced diversity---including, but not limited to diversity of thought (Rest assured I know that there is no one party ownership of this term, but honestly in some ways the Democrats seem to have done a better job on this one recently). I also thought that the party was big enough to encompass many points on the party spectrum. I don't know if that is really true.
Bottom line, I don't know how we got so mixed up in what the "definition" of a Democrat is, but it happened. I guess becoming an independent and unaffiliating myself is my solution--and it feels like a very honest one. I will not say that one philosophy fits every issue, as is sometimes required within a party mindset. Disaffiliating and saying that party politics have no place in county government is also a solution that has helped me regain my passion for wanting to be a county commissioner and most importantly, connected me to my democracy in a way that I never could have imagined.
I may not win the lawsuit, I may not run for office again and I may not "win", but one thing I will continue to do is make decisions that I feel good about and am proud to be responsible for. I have done that in my three years of office and I want to continue to do so in a way that may help us not make assumptions about where we are or where we should be on issues ---just according to party positions.
At the end of the day I know I did the best job I could and that I listened to as many diverse perspectives as possible as well as doing extensive research into whatever subject is being considered. I think that's what counts the most and it allows me to get up the next morning and do it all over again---and enjoy it!