This weekend, Comanche people once again displayed aversion to change. They elected Wallace Coffee, who has been chairman three terms in the past. Wallace is a full-blood, and has life-long experience among Comanche people. He received 56.23% of the vote.
Wallace Coffey, Chairman of the Comanche Nation.
Where as I myself campaigned on the most liberal, progressive, indeed radical change ever presented to Indian people, Wallace simply offered the usual. Wallace Coffey knows that you can’t “lead” the people. You can only follow. One cannot command the wind. One can only direct it, or adjust to it.
I know that too, but I wanted to demonstrate just how unchanging Comanche people really are. Many may talk about being liberal, and vote Democrat, and boast of egalitarianism, but, this is all superficial–as the wind. When it comes down to the actual preference, Comanche people–at least the ones living in the Lawton area, the ones that vote–are like a rock. They do not want change. We’re all a bunch of romantic traditionalists. We idolize the past. This is remarkably conservative, in every way.
This is constitutional conservatism, like the most avid of Republican conservatives. This is the pith of the conservative way–to preserve, to reserve, to cherish, to honor historical principles.
And yet, I also campaigned to preserve the remainder of our Comanche blood lines, and found this thought to be the most highly protested. Many of our people seem not to care at all whether there will such a thing as Comanche blood in the future. They seem content to let the Comanche blood wash out, and to let the tribe continue as a legalized social club in which any and all can join–through sexual reproduction by someone already a member of the club. This is called not looking into the future. This is called burying your head in the sand.
Wallace Coffey will no doubt do everything he can to improve things for Comanche people. But he understands the depths of the Comanche soul, and knows what he can do and not do. He is a realist, not a risky visionary. Sure, he has ideas for the future; he has hopes and plans; but he knows the people. He knows they cannot be herded, no matter how grand the prospects presented them.
And he also knows that he will be subject to the same drone of complaint, protest, and bickering that drowns the ears of any man or woman in a “leadership” position in our tribe. This is as unchanging as conservatism itself. The Comanche people just demonstrated that they will vote out anyone or any group that they think are disrespectful of the people. In April, we voted out the entire Comanche Business Committee. This week end, we voted out the attorney group (Hobbs, Strauss, Dean & Walker). Leaders beware.
At this point, I would recommend to some Comanche student of sociology, or some Comanche in Native American studies, that a thesis be undertaken on the socio-psychology of Comanche people. I believe it is unique, a remarkable combination of contrasts. I believe the people is piquantly hypocritical, or self-contradictory. Perhaps this could be said of any American Indian tribe. We want our historical identity, yet we are obviously assimilated, to one degree or another. Our identity is psychological, at least. I would hope also biological, based on blood. (I’ve always said, the power is in the blood.) “We live in two worlds,” Tom Mauchahty-Ware always said. Ever so true. Who can tabulate the effects? I would volunteer to be an adviser to any student wanting to work on such a thesis. Perhaps I should write it myself.
And so Comanches, by vote, have elected one they consider safe, reliable, well-beloved, and trustworthy. The Comanches that disagree will no doubt express their opposition, and vehemently. This is the way it is.
Wallace Coffey is a deeply religious man, a humble man, and one who loves the Comanche people. I personally have learned to love Wallace. Over the years, I have seen his attitude, his belief, and his behavior. It can be very touching, very moving. Given the givens, I don’t know who would be better as chairman.
I just want Comanche people to stop with the “liberal Democrat” chicanery! Comanches are conservative, to the core! In time of crisis, when we booted out some very powerful CBC members, we also voted out the most liberal, progressive, radical changes in our history–mine!
These are great times! To all the numunu, Good on ya!
David Yeagley, 1991.
UPDATE: Here is the ComancheMedia video of the June 2 General Council meeting.