Yes, Virginia, there is a Democratic Party in El Paso County, and it's alive and well.
If you question the veracity of my statement, just wait until this weekend when 300 members of the National Federation of Democratic Women and an untold number of state and local Democrats will gather June 4-6 at the Doubletree-World Arena hotel in Colorado Springs for the organization's annual convention.
That's right, Virginia, 300 Democrats from throughout the United States have been invited here by the Colorado Federation of Democratic Women and the El Paso County Democratic Women's Club to discuss issues vital to the nation and push for success in this crucial election year.
These women will meet here under a banner proclaiming they are "determined and courageous." They will hold workshops on healthcare, diversity and, naturally, politics, and hear from local, state and national leaders about the urgency to spread the Democratic Party message.
And, yes, Virginia, you and all of your friends and acquaintances can attend. In good Democratic tradition, the convention is open to the public -- women and men.
Let me remind you that Colorado Springs really is the perfect site for this convention. In addition to, numberwise, being home to more Democrats than live in all of Boulder County, this area offers a spectacular array of attractions for people to see and enjoy before, after and during the convention. Our friends at the Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce and the Pikes Peak Convention and Visitors Bureau must be thrilled with the idea of 300 people coming here to participate in a convention and spend their money in the local economy. We all know the economy hasn't been in top form since 2000 and that every little shot in the arm is welcome.
Colorado Springs and El Paso County also offer something else -- political conservatism and a reputation for extreme views from the political right. What better place than Colorado Springs for all of us to come face-to-face with the challenges confronting the American democratic system and the need for a viable, two-party system of checks and balances?
In a democratic republic like ours, Virginia, issues should receive a healthy debate, a little give-and-take, a recognition of divergent ideas and values. These all are necessary to reach the compromises that make America a better nation.
If you only hear from one side, from one political point of view, then you drift away from the founding principles of this nation. If you are not presented with at least two perspectives on an issue, then the thoughts and values of a few unchecked, unquestioned elected officials will decide the direction for all of us.
In short, Virginia, you need two political parties working to keep the debate open and flowing, so that all issues can be thoroughly examined and evaluated. With the Republican Party controlling all but one elective office here, this community needs active Democrats. And what better way to demonstrate that the Democratic Party in El Paso County is alive and well than to host this National Federation of Democratic Women's convention?
This event will be a great opportunity to look at:
Bush's lack of planning for Iraq, the nearly forgotten war in Afghanistan and the problems his lack of planning has created.
Bush's failed economic strategy that took us from a $5.6 trillion surplus to a $5.2 trillion deficit and lost us nearly 3 million jobs.
Bush's failure to adequately fund his own educational programs, leaving those in need with his hollow pipe dreams.
Bush's inadequate funding of the Department of Homeland Security, which he initially opposed.
Bush's hidden costs in the "new" Medicare plan, and his robbing of the Social Security system's future.
Bush's unequal tax cuts that toss pennies to the peasants while his loyal lords and ladies get richer.
So, come on Virginia, wake up. We can do better than this. Come out to the National Federation of Democratic Women's Convention, June 4-6 at the Doubletree-World Arena and learn how democracy really works.
Irene Kornelly is the president of the El Paso County Democratic Women's Club. For more information on the convention, call her at 591-5157 or Patricia Yates at 520-1895.