Trojan Horse visits Eagle-Vail for election season | VailDaily.com

Trojan Horse visits Eagle-Vail for election season

EAGLE-VAIL — Greeks invented philosophy and democracy. Mesopotamians invented beer. Americans invented country music. All three tend to attract people with time on their hands.

The Greeks also invented the Trojan Horse, one of which rolled through Eagle County on Wednesday.

With less than two weeks before the election, you cannot throw bricks around Colorado without hitting someone loudly arguing on behalf of this or against that, which is the best reason that anyone has ever thought of for throwing bricks.

Unlike the real Trojan Horse, nothing pops out of the one that stopped in Eagle-Vail. It's solid wood.

There's nowhere for candy to be thrown to adoring throngs, not even Milk Duds.

If this Trojan Horse could talk, then it would rail against Amendment 71. It's like most other lobbyists and lawyers: It argues passionately on behalf of who's paying it.

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This Trojan Horse is from Michigan, which is ironic because a bunch of out-of-state people are using it as a prop to decry powerful out-of-state politicians and their out-of-state cronies who, they say, are trying to thwart Colorado's citizen initiative process.

What's that?

This particular Trojan Horse belongs to Jeff Tillman, a delightful guy who's having lots of fun driving around Colorado with his giant wooden horse. As of the stop in Eagle-Vail, he'd been to 90 cities so far with 80 to go before Nov. 8.

Tillman's son spent a couple months in his dad's woodworking shop building the horse, leaving behind a mountain of sawdust and a potential tourist attraction.

When people see the Trojan Horse rolling down the road on Tillman's trailer with Michigan plates, being pulled by Tillman's American-made, Michigan-plated truck, people behave in all sorts of ways that indicate they don't have a well-honed sense of self-preservation. Just like the Trojans.

Drivers pull up beside the horse and take cell phone pictures, creating traffic hazards because — well, how often in your life do you see a one-ton wooden horse rolling down the highway on a trailer?

Speaking of no sense of self preservation, not so long ago Tillman's No-On-Amendment-71 Trojan Horse was in a Front Range parking lot surrounded by people who generally despise one another, but decided to agree on this.

Jon Caldara, leader of the right-leaning Independence Institute says, basically, Amendment 71 is bad, sort of like credit cards but with lower interest rates. Agreeing with Caldara is Elena Nunez with left-leaning Common Cause Colorado. Nunez says the pro-71 campaign is designed to "trick" voters, sort of the way the Trojan Horse tricked the people of Troy.

The tail, er, tale

The tale of the Trojan Horse is like a country song.

Helen was an ancient gold digger. She was beautiful and married to King Menelaus of Greece.

Paris was an extraordinarily handsome prince from Troy. He spotted Helen and fell in love, or something like it. Just like a country song. Paris ran off with Helen and sailed back to the city/state of Troy.

King Menelaus gathered a bunch of his buddies, sailed to Troy to retrieve his wayward bride, and lay siege to Troy for many years.

A peace deal was finally brokered. The Greeks announced they were leaving, and to seal the pact they left the Trojan Horse outside of Troy. The Trojans pulled it inside, apparently expecting to find it loaded with treasure. It was instead loaded with angry, heavily-armed Greeks. Once inside Troy's walls, they sacked and burned the city.

Homer wrote all about it in "The Iliad" and "The Odyssey," which your high school English teacher may have made you read. Oliver Stone made a movie about it. The books are definitely better, but don't have Brad Pitt in a starring role.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and rwyrick@vaildaily.com.