Misery loves company. Let me share mine with you.
For what seems like the past 312 years, which may have actually been the past 312 days, I have had to live and breathe yet another goddam election — this one. I have read and written hundreds of thousands of words about campaign promises, paradigm shifts, unseemly Facebook posts and a virtual opus of ad hominem-cides.
If you’ve been following us through the election issues and candidates you’re about to decide as a voter, you get the gist of what’s been going on over the last year. Here are some things you might not know or weren’t sure about:
District Attorney George Brauchler is a nice guy and a class act. We’ve agreed on lots and disagreed on plenty during his tenure as the DA in the 18th judicial district. We didn’t agree that he was the best candidate for state attorney general this year. I think Brauchler could have given Jared Polis a run for his money, and that’s a lot of money. It’s a run against Polis that Walker Stapleton has simply squandered. Despite not winning our endorsement and having to listen to our bad jokes and prodding questions, Brauchler thanked us for the opportunity, agreed to disagree, and told us he looks forward to working with us as district attorney, or even attorney general. The Colorado Republican Party would do well to observe how Brauchler handles himself and his politics and emulate him.
Outgoing State Treasurer Walker Stapleton is a political weasel. You know it. I know. He knows it. I’d say that he’s one of those oddballs that just wants to be elected for the sake of being elected and only knows how to talk the talk. But he can’t even do that. He babbles and fumbles and can’t keep his stories straight or his low-down political hacks in line. We’ve been barraged by his trolls and troublemakers to push fake news and fabrications since even before he bought himself the GOP nomination and pushed out quality candidates like Cynthia Coffman and George Brauchler. They don’t stop. If this election cycle brings one thing, it’ll be that Stapleton leaves Colorado politics for good, joining peers like Dan Maes and Scott Gessler in the partisan landfill. His gubernatorial nomination prompts this big question from all over the state: Really? This is the best Republicans can do in Colorado?
You have a friend in the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Department. He’s Sheriff Dave Walcher. Walcher has all the good cop qualities that make these men and women the heroes that they generally are. He listens to people when they talk. I mean he really listens. He talks about people as individuals, not just parts of a whole. He worries about all the cops that he works with, knowing that it’s an increasingly dangerous job. And he has the greatest quality of all good cops: sympathy. In talking about how full his jail has become with drug addicts that, because of their very addiction become criminals, he sympathizes with those who are often seen as trouble, rather than troubled. That’s the kind of guy you want keeping the peace.
The #MeToo movement isn’t a political weapon, it’s not a joke, and it’s not going away. What happened at the state Capitol last year as a handful of state lawmakers got outed as egregious perpetrators of sexual harassment, was sickening. Rather than immediately work to figure out who the perps were and how things needed to be changed to prevent further victims, lawmakers circled the wagons to treat it like any other partisan political threat. To this day, there has been no apology from the outed lawmakers, nor the fellow legislators who had power over them. If you think that the next class of legislators elected this fall will turn the tide, it’s not a sure thing. Republican candidate for House District 36, Richard Bowman, said on his campaign website that he was taking his wife with him to the state Capitol to help ensure that no Capitol women wrongfully accused him of sexual harassment should they accuse “this old fart of grabbing their butt or making a pass at them.” Sexual harassment isn’t a joke or a political problem, it’s a behavioral problem. Lawmakers need to treat it like that.
Congressman Mike Coffman is not a villain. No matter how much you disagree with his politics, and the world knows how we’ve disagreed over the years, Coffman is a guy who genuinely cares about the people he knows and serves. There certainly are some seriously villainous people in American politics. Mike isn’t one of them. When I first covered his state House re-election race a very long time ago, he explained how the difficult lives of people very close to him influenced how he felt about things like public assistance, and the role government plays in that. Discussions on a variety of topics we’ve had through the years always left me understanding that much of what motivates Mike is getting to an end result that solves problems for people he’s met and developed a sympathy for. Villains don’t do that.
I’m often at the front of the line to complain about political hackery and roll my eyes at the seemingly endless political flatulence leading to uncontrolled global political warming. But you need to know that, for the very large part, the politicians on this year’s ballot seeking your vote are really hard-working, well-meaning people who volunteer to take all kinds of abuse for little or no money to try and make a change. They’re mostly, not all, pretty friendly, smart and funny people who risk and sacrifice a lot to win a seat in the Legislature or at the county, and get picked on by pretty much everyone, including me.
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