Congress's certification of the electors on January 6 and Georgia's important January 5 runoff aside, the election is blessedly behind us. No more campaign ads, no more debates, no more polling, no more pundits trying to explain why the polls were once again off by a significant margin. Coloradans voted Joe Biden over Donald Trump by thirteen and a half points, almost half a million votes in a year in which a record number of voters in this state cast ballots — over three million, including a head-shaking 8K who threw away their vote on Kanye West.
All politics are local, or so the old saw goes, and that’s ironically more true than ever, even given the globalization of our economy and the over-availability of tailored information on the Internet. So what should Colorado focus on politically in the coming year?
Glad you asked. The race toward national midterms starts January 21; in the meantime, here are ten resolutions for Colorado politics this year:
No More Corys
Colorado finally got rid of Cory Gardner, an empty smile of a senator who claimed to be a centrist while unconditionally supporting the most extreme and corrupt administration America has ever seen. Colorado deserves better than that tired and cynical brand of political representation. Gardner was so absent from his constituency that a protest of his constant state of unavailability, Cardboard Cory, went viral. No word yet on what Cory and his cardboard doppelgänger plan to do in their post-senatorial life. One of them will probably end up dusty and forgotten in a closet somewhere, covered in old coats and loose hangars. The other will probably just get recycled.
Require a Return to Statesmanship
This one’s going to take more than a year, but 2021 is a good time to start. After the ethical nadir of the Trump era, we need to be able to trust our government again. From the president to our senators and representatives to our Supreme Court, from the Justice Department to the departments of Homeland Security and the Interior—much has been lost in four years, both nationally and locally. It will take work, regaining the ability to respectfully disagree on the issues without having to live in different realities. Hold new Senator John Hickenlooper to task to be a strong part of that movement back toward rational discourse.
Never Be Politically Apathetic Again
If the elections of the past five years taught us anything, it’s that there is no such thing as an inconsequential vote. Sure, we voted out cardboard-cutout Cory and we helped defeat Trump on the national level — but in the same election, we forgot the Western Slope and allowed a QAnon Trumpster gun nut to sneak into one of Colorado’s congressional seats. Elections are almost always decided by the middle; assumptions can be political suicide.
Stop Confusing Ignorance for Opinion
No, Tucker Carlson Super Fan, we cannot “agree to disagree” on things that are facts. While everyone should indeed respect your personal choices in terms of, say, loving mushrooms in your spaghetti sauce, listening to Joe Rogan in anything but an ironic way or thinking that the Insane Clown Posse not only creates great music, but also makes some really insightful comments about magnets? We actually have an obligation to correct you if you make a ridiculous statement denying basic science or the rights of others. And in 2021, we will. We all will.
Understand the Risks of Ignoring the Rural
Respect the Power of the People
Yes, that means not threatening peaceful protesters with violence — and definitely not firing a gun in response to a volatile but non-life-threatening situation. That means not driving into a demonstration, even if you’re in a big hurry to get somewhere. That means not accepting racial bias as a basis for the treatment of anyone by law enforcement. That means not being afraid to peacefully gather and make your voice heard because you know that speech and that act are both valued and protected by the democratic principles upon which this nation was founded. That means accepting that protest isn’t un-American. It is, as the saying goes, what democracy looks like.
Keep Defending Reproductive Rights
In November, Colorado defeated yet another ballot initiative designed to undercut the availability of abortion to women. This was the fifth measure to be defeated since 2000 that would have in some way limited or negatively affected a woman’s ability to choose; the abortion ban lost by nearly 18 points. There was a time in Colorado’s more reddish past when these votes were much closer, when Colorado looked like a place where the anti-choice crusades might find a foothold. It looks like those days are right where they belong, along with the backward idea of political control over a woman’s body: in the past.
Demand Accountability in Media
Trump was right about one thing: There was fake news. But it nearly always came from Trump and Trump media: Fox News, Breitbart, Newsmax, OAN and maybe a new, as-yet-unannounced Trump network to carry his banner of celebrated ignorance forward post-presidency. Children of the 60s, ’70s, ’80s, even the ’90s remember a time when network news was by nature apolitical. Millennials have never lived in a world in which the news was a de facto source of widely accepted and trustworthy information. Let’s show them one.
Be Willing to Redefine Presumptions…
Remember, we used to be a dependably red state. That was before the purple wave washed over us and settled out in more recent years to a solid cerulean. And Colorado isn’t alone: Arizona went blue, Georgia went blue, Texas made a good run away from capital-R red. So yes, people can change, and so can their political dispositions. With all the mind-changing that needs to happen to a not-slight-enough minority of Coloradans who saw everything that Trump and his cronies wrought in the last four years and said, “Yeah, I’ll have more of that,” those who opposed his intolerance have to make room for former political enemies to become friends. To see the light. We have to believe it’s possible, and act on that belief, in order to move forward as a state and a nation.
…but Forgive, Not Forget
Think of it as the response to the terrorist attacks of 9/11, or as a truncated version of John F. Kennedy’s “Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names.” America and Colorado alike are going to have to move through the pain and the hate and the usury of the Trump era in the coming years, and 2021 will only be a start. But those who still thrill to the recalled tiki-torchlight violence in Charlottesville; those who remain opposed to the rightful insistence that Black Lives Matter; those who watched children be separated from their parents at the borders, caged and lost, and still think that served them right; those who saw the conscienceless con man that was President Trump and still wear his hat and fly his flag and want a new media to serve up greedy gobbets of garbage like Trump did at his dystopian rallies: Colorado will remember your names. America will remember your names. And not kindly.
Have any political resolutions for Colorado’s 2021? Let us know in a comment or at firstname.lastname@example.org.