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Photo Gallery: 4/20 At Civic Center Park

What if We Could Trade Politicians Like Players?

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Chauncey Billups #1 and Carmelo Anthony #15 of the Denver Nuggets react to a play against the Houston Rockets on January 3, 2011 at the Pepsi Center in Denver. (Photo by Garrett W. Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)

Chauncey Billups #1 and Carmelo Anthony #15 of the Denver Nuggets react to a play against the Houston Rockets on January 3, 2011 at the Pepsi Center in Denver. (Photo by Garrett W. Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)

Written by Dominic Dezzutti

I think I speak for the majority of Coloradans when I say that I am glad our collective basketball melodrama is over. However, the fiasco surrounding Carmelo Anthony made me think about how our political world would be different if we ran it like the NBA.

Thanks to professional sports being franchises within a league, we watch a unique activity every year of the trading of certain players, or other players taking more money to sign contracts elsewhere.

And while leaving one job for another because of money or location is pretty common, trading the rights of an employee or representative doesn’t happen.

But what if it did? Imagine the headlines and stories.

“In a budget slashing maneuver, the People of Colorado announced this week that they are trading Lt. Governor Joe Garcia, Attorney General John Suthers and the winner of the 2014 State Treasurer’s race for three State Representatives of California and a Secretary of State to be named later.”

Bob Johnson, the VP of Politician Operations for the People of Colorado issued a statement on the trade. “Well, no one ever likes losing the talents of proven warriors like Suthers or up and coming stars like Garcia, but the state needed to think about the bottom line and what was best for the future of Colorado. We feel these new young additions from California will help rebuild our state’s representation from the ground up, providing a solid foundation for the future.”

Just imagine if we as a citizenry were able to trade our political leaders, attempting to improve our future with trades for young talent, or shore up current needs by trading for quality veterans. It’s an intriguing thought.

Of course, the intended irony here is that we, in fact, already have many of the same freedoms of a professional sports franchise over our own destiny. While some of the rules are different, many of them are quite similar.

Basically, every two years, we have contract negotiations with many of our leaders. Some of them are on four year guaranteed contracts, and some even six years. But every election, new young talent tries out against older, experienced talent. Sometimes the charismatic rookie scores an upset, and sometimes the veteran keeps the reins.

In fact, maybe we would be better off as a country if we saw the opportunity to become an elected leader more like a try out for our team. If we were as protective of our vote as we would be if we were a team owner, we would have far higher expectations of our candidates. If we saw ourselves as team owners, I think we would be far more critical of the jobs our “players” are doing and we might make them focus more on who they serve and less on special interests.

To continue the metaphor, special interests in government are like distracting product endorsements and entertainment side shows that athletes let get in the way of their quality performances for their teams. If voters acted more like team owners and less like patient fans, we might be able to get the focus of our elected officials back on the job at hand.

Alas, I can’t imagine that we will confuse our elected leaders as our own professional sports franchise any time soon. It might be nice to think that kind of careful consideration is possible, but I am pretty sure we only reserve that kind of attention for sports stars and American Idol contestants.

But I can always dream.

About The Blogger

- Dominic Dezzutti, producer of the Colorado Decides debate series, a co-production of CBS4 and Colorado Public Television, looks at the local and national political scene in his CBSDenver.com blog. Read new entries here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Dezzutti writes about federal, state and local matters and how our elected leaders are handling the issues important to Colorado. Dezzutti also produces the Emmy winning Colorado Inside Out, hosted by Raj Chohan, on Colorado Public Television.

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