Not being a native Coloradan I am constantly amazed at the dearth of in-depth articles or analysis of national and international events that impact local as well as global economics and politics. The BREXIT vote was felt by investors and pensioners from New York to Los Angeles. The Obergefell decision last June lifted the stay in Colorado on execution of same-sex marriages enabling scores of gay and lesbian Coloradans to walk down the aisle and legally marry. The recent TX abortion case will undoubtedly negatively impact introduction of anti-reproductive justice legislation in the State Legislature and strategies of the RTL movement in the state.
So why a limited inquiry or, as one publisher noted, restrict articles or op-eds to those pieces that are “intensely local,” a standard that is as much stultifying as it is mystifying.
Let me be clear, I believe that news focused on specific Colorado issues such as the Stock Show, Pot and TABOR are at once interesting and worthy of note; yet there are national and international subjects that are not only as interesting as pot, cows and property taxes, but of critical import.
I propose that we break out of the insular and isolating box that we find ourselves and join the discourse percolating throughout the States and the globe.
Why not start with the rhetoric of the Presidential election. I bet we can find something that will peak our interest as well as raise issues that affect Colorado’s economy, as well as its political and legal posture.
First, HRC’s emails.
We now know that Clinton will not be prosecuted. The Chief of the FBI stated, after careful analysis and study of the findings, “no reasonable prosecutor” would prosecute this case. The operative and important word uttered by Comey was “reasonable.”
Why did he use this term? Because prosecutors must follow the law. Plain and simple. The evidence failed to establish that Clinton possessed the requisite statutory mental state-either intentional or gross negligence. The former requires that the actor engage in the prohibited conduct with the intent to violate security; the latter obliges actual knowledge that she will be compromising security and then even with such knowledge she engages in the prohibited conduct.
After one year, evaluating 30,000 emails and interviewing numerous individuals, including Clinton, the FBI made a reasoned determination that no prosecutor could or should prosecute Clinton for violating federal law. The Federal government did not have a case, even though the Republicans wished it did.
Do I think that HRC used bad judgment? You bet. But I defer to the FBI as to criminal conduct, because it collected and analyzed the evidence-documentary, digital and witness accounts. Moreover, lawyers in the Federal Legislature know (or should know) legal standards are not synonymous with common parlance or lexicon; thus whilst “gross” may mean “bad,” on the street, it does not hold the same meaning in the law. I suspect that Paul Ryan is aware of the distinction-and if he does not-he needs to retake first year criminal law.
What is Ryan’s response? Hold another hearing-which Coloradans will pay for-just as we did for the 7 million dollar Benghazi hearing which turned-up nil, nada, niente; exactly zero facts to link Clinton to any nefarious or criminal conduct.
Should we be concerned with such wasteful spending?
Colorado barely made it above 50% in the best schools rankings, with only 13.1% of Colorado K-12 schools in the Gold, Silver or Bronze category. The highly respected Education Week study gave Colorado a C for K-12 achievement and a D+ for financing education and equity in spending across districts. Federal funds as well as state property taxes fund education. But in a State like Colorado, federal funds do more. They help to make up the financial gap created by TABOR, a piece of legislation that has contributed to one of the lowest per pupil outlay among the states.
The plethora of Congressional hearings conducted in the past three years has a cost, harming not only Colorado but Colorado’s children.
And then there are Trump “isms.”
Just recently Trump used Twitter and the Star of David to raise questions about HRC’s financial dealings. The Star was juxtaposed onto a background littered with images of USD currency. What, pray-tell, could The Donald have meant by such a Twitter? Money + universally recognised Magen David (Star of David) = the tired, age-old stereotype of Jews aka Shyster.
Trump backpedaled faster than you could say,” New York values.” He re-Tweeted changing the Star to a circle. And his CNN surrogate, Cory Lewandowski informed us that the star was really a sheriff’s badge. Lewandowski commented that those critical of Trump were engaging in “political correctness.” Political correctness, the new bon mot of the Republican Party which, levels blame upon the constituency denigrated or disparaged.
So how does this impact Coloradans?
Tweets such as Trump’s give comfort to those anti-Semites who not only use words but engage in racist conduct. According to reports from the Colorado ADL, anti-Semitic acts more than doubled in 2015 and increased in 2016. Scott Levin, mountain states director, commented that after years of decline, “People have been emboldened in their bigotry and hate by the level of discourse that’s going on, especially at the national level.”
The cause, national; the effect, local; the impact, devastating.
A problem arises when the majority of the news we read, hear and opine is within the four corners of the state. Moreover, an embargo on national news, accompanied by deep analysis, debate and commentary contributes to the creation of not only an uninformed but ill-informed public. Cows, pot and TABOR are important to be sure-but don’t you think spending some column and digital space on national concerns is in fact “intensely local?” Certainly this Coloradan does, and I would wager you do too.