New York Times columnist Frank Bruni was back in Colorado last week, eating (and tweeting) at Acorn, attending a book signing for Helen Thorpe's Soldier Girls (which not only earned a good review in the Times, but a rave in People, of all places) and, it turns out, researching this weekend's column describing this state as "A Battleground and Bellwether."
See also: Helen Thorpe, Ex-Colorado First Lady, Lauded on the Daily Show for Soldier Girls
"Given all of the smoky talk about Colorado and marijuana," Bruni begins, "you arrive here with the feeling that you're stepping into some freaky, one-of-a-kind laboratory. And you are. But the experiment goes well beyond the responsible legalization and regulation of pot."
Colorado is where the country's tricky issues are being hashed out, and many of those will affect the upcoming election, Bruni writes. And while Governor John Hickenlooper compares Colorado to a test tube that keeps getting filled with new ideas and shaken, sort of this decade's California, Bruni compares it to a different state: "In many ways, Colorado is the new Ohio, a political bellwether."
You can read the entire column here. But the comments -- well over 100 by this morning -- are the real required reading. A sampling:
From sunny 20:
As a New Yorker turned Coloradan 40 years ago, my greatest fears are being realized: Colorado is beginning to look like, and act like, New York. Too many people now telling us what's good for us, a cult of personality around a decent governor, but one whose actions are often modified by political expediency, a population willing to risk its youth for the false god of marijuana prosperity, and hypocrites like Udall and Romanoff who use negative and scare tactics to bamboozle women and minorities. Their appeals, in and of themselves, are demeaning to the women and minorities they court, and their attacks are in stark contradiction to their self-professed personas. In other words, Colorado, once unique and special, is becoming like every other power seeking state. Too bad.
Colorado is a poster child for the Not In My Backyard (NIMBY) movement which sprang up in the 1970s. People who want all the benefits of a modern industrial society without shouldering any of its responsibilities and drawbacks.
From Ellen K:
Colorado has suffered more or less from being a landing spot for ex-pat Californians. They go there complaining about the restrictions and snafus of the state they left behind, yet continue mindlessly supporting the type of politicians who grow the government at expense to the population. That's what is happening in Colorado. Colorado's roots are far more conservative than the current political flow as show. And that is because like California, the urban centers are controlling the outcomes. There's a reason some counties sought to secede. Government is supposed to reflect the views of the people who send them to the capitol. Instead they are starting to reflect the goals and desires of lobbyists. That style of government has ruined California and is currently destroying Illinois and Michigan.
I grew up in Colorado Springs in the 60s and 70s, and I shudder when I think of what it has become. Perhaps it is all the military installations situated there that has enabled the religious right to gain a foothold.
But I also have many friends who still live there, and they certainly do not vote Republican.
Despite the strange affinity for gun rights, most Coloradans are sane, thinking citizens of our country. I applaud the state, and its citizens, for their ability to work out issues in a nonpartisan manner.
The rest of the nation would do well to pay attention.
And finally, Patricia brings the conversation back to the beginning:
I'm in Aspen right now and I have to say that marijuana legalization is more boring, professional and discrete than I ever imagined in my non-wildest dreams.
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