My newspapering past lingers in my tendency to take notes at public events – political gatherings to artistic performances. About three lifetimes ago, that note-taking led me to become a dance reviewer. Can’t say it was a “job” or “task.” Too much art and grace involved. But, unless we’re talking a solo or pas de deux, the stage can become mighty crowded. And, while dancers might be listed per performance, figuring out who is doing what becomes problematical.

          My initial response was to wish that the dancers might wear numbers pinned to their outfits – and they do in ballroom competitions – but a corps of swans with numbers on their costumes would be an unwelcome distraction, as tacky as a Trump tweet. Which brings us to the corps of presidential candidates announcing intentions to seek the Democratic nomination.

          The last count was 23 – more than most dance troupes. I was pleased to know at least a sliver of information about nearly half of them. (I figure, too, that, because of my last name, I’d probably outdraw about that many in an Oklahoma primary. Not running.)

          Democratic county party chairs are forbidden from endorsing primary candidates. Not sure why. It’s certainly not because we wield so much power. So, I’ll watch the contest, keep my preferences to myself and comment on issues that should concern us all. Regardless of whom we choose, I can be sure that sheh (pronounced “shay,” the nominative form of he/she; hesh is the objective) will:

          – fight to protect Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid from Republicans, who would plunder those programs to feed the gluttonous fat cats who control their party;

          – make sure that small children are not  ripped  from their parents’ arms and caged;

          – try to protect Earth’s ecosystem to make sure our heirs have the most habitable planet possible;

           – make truth the standard of public discourse again, personally and in issues such as the impending climate catastrophe;

           – recognize who our allies are and treat them with respect instead of cozying up to brutal tyrants;

          – realize that the presidency of the United States is not an economic opportunity to divert millions of dollars in tax money into hesh bank account while treating foreign policy as a means to cut sweetheart deals for family members or heshself;

          – treat people of all nationalities, colors, religions, genders with the respect they are due as our cousins in the human race;

           – work to make America the healthiest nation possible regardless of our individual monetary resources;

          – protect public education from the onslaught of elitists who would take public educational funding for private purposes while creating an under-educated underclass;

          — not consider tax-dodging a rich man’s sport while suckers such as we support them.

          I welcome the influx of candidates with their messages of positivity and ideas for productive changes. I love the enthusiasm, too, and hope to see it from each of them on the campaign trail once one of their group has emerged as the party’s candidate.

          We need a united effort to save this country from the autocratic hatred and corporate socialism espoused by the oligarchs on the other side.

          (Gary Edmondson is chair of the Stephens County Democratic Party: or

What we do know about our hopefuls

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