The Elephant in the Room: Elephant Journal’s Waylon Lewis talks local politics and why we should care

With local elections swiftly approaching, many young Boulderites’ may be thinking: so what?

Elephant Journal, a popular online publication based in Boulder, prides itself on, “Spreading good news beyond the choir to those who weren’t sure they gave a care.”

Lauren Maslen recently caught up with Waylon Lewis, founder of  Elephant Journal, to learn why hosting an open forum with Boulder City Council candidates is important and relevant in today’s political realm, and why we should all “give a care.”

Waylon Lewis is the founder of the Elephant Journal and hosts the Walk the Talk Show.

Waylon Lewis is the founder of the Elephant Journal and hosts the Walk the Talk Show.

Transcript

(Lauren): For many young people in today’s millennial generation, when we think of politics, we think “The Daily Show,” “The Colbert Report,” or Leslie Knope from “Parks and Recreation.”

Engaging in local politics is the substance of television comedy rather than a facet of our everyday lives.

The Elephant Journal is an online, web community known for its writing on yoga, wellness, spirituality, and mindfulness. Waylon Lewis, a native Boulderite, is the owner and founder of the Elephant Journal.

(Lewis): I did see that yoga was becoming this huge gateway for people. Millions of kind of, somewhat normal, functional Americans to care about things that I care about, like the environment; being involved in political life. As of last night, we’re at 4.2 million readers a month.

(Lauren): On Wednesday, October 16th, the Elephant Journal hosted an open City Council candidate forum at Shine Restaurant in downtown Boulder.

(Lewis): I mean, most of the other city council forums you go to, frankly, are – with all due respect – they’re kind of a bunch of old people who have held the reins of power in terms of who gets voted in and who doesn’t.

(Lauren): The public was invited to come grab a beer, hear candidates speak on big ballot issues, and to ask questions of their own in an open, welcoming environment.

(Lewis): The whole point of Elephant’s event last night was to get so-called normal people who aren’t that engaged, maybe, but who are great people, to engage and connect.

(Lauren): The candidates discussed everything from open space; to fracking; to the future of the hill and art in Boulder; and food forests. Not many issues were left untouched.

(open forum event)

(Kevin Hotaling): As I previously mentioned, I don’t have a car; haven’t driven in over a year; and live in an efficiency apartment. But the interesting fact would be that I’m currently wearing 8 items of clothing which is out of 250 total items that I have. I take an inventory every year to make sure that I’m not buying too much crap.

(crowd laughter and applause)

(Lewis): We’ve fully entered an episode of “Portlandia” at this point.

The Boulder City Council candidates participated in an open forum hosted by the Elephant Journal at Shine Restaurant and Gathering Place Wednesday, Oct. 16th.

The Boulder City Council candidates participated in an open forum hosted by the Elephant Journal at Shine Restaurant and Gathering Place Wednesday, Oct. 16th.

(interview)

(Lewis): We tried to keep it kind of engaging and not too boring, but also at the same time, we tried to have moments of getting into issues.

(Lauren): Why should young people care about local politics?

(Lewis): That’s sort of the point of last night, was to kind of engage young people; older people; anyone who wants to engage in the very important issues that are going on in Boulder.

I mean, right now – this is a cliche in politics because its true – right now we’re deciding on issues that will determine the next 10 or 20 years: the future course of Boulder.

(Lauren): What can young people do to get more involved?

(Lewis): The only question is: do you care? And if people out there don’t care, then they shouldn’t get involved and that’s what happens in the U.S. Only, like, 45 percent of people even bother to vote, and that’s sad. So really, it’s just a very simply answer: get involved. But the question is: do you care?

(Lauren): For Under the Flatirons, this is Lauren Maslen.

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