Printed Letters: Oct. 7, 2016
Trump comes off like a third-world dictator
I have to qualify this by saying that I haven’t been much interested or involved in presidential politics since the turmoil of the late 1960s. The calculus for me has now changed because the poster boy for narcissism, Donald J. Trump, is now the GOP’s nominee for president of the United States.
In my opinion it is very clear that Trump has encouraged outrage among his supporters by proclaiming opposition to various social classes and stirring up nationalist sentiments by focusing on peoples’ anxieties toward minorities (ban the Muslims, Mexicans, et.al.) and his perceived “enemies.” Trump has urged his supporters to rail against and terrorize political opponents, protestors, and others by threatening to sue, through insults, or by physical assaults. (In the old days, protesters would be carried out on stretchers.)
By Trump spouting, “I can fix everything” he comes off like a third-world dictator. If elected, it is within the realm of possibility that he may want to gradually dismantle many of our democratic institutions, including the press, and then declare himself as the only one who can save the country. In essence then, he becomes a de facto fascist.
Does this sound totally ridiculous? Well, I certainly hope so, but something similar happened before during 1919-1922 in pre-World War II Italy. The man: Benito Mussolini whose rise to power followed a similar road that Trump appears to be taking. Think it can’t happen here? Well, one just has to look at the way Trump has run his presidential campaign and then check out the parallels. A lot of people say “no way” but those who deny the past don’t seem to realize that history has a way of repeating itself!
Amendment 71 will diminish power of Colorado citizens
Think about how difficult it already is to get a citizens’ initiative placed on the ballot in Colorado. A yes vote on Amendment 71 would make it more challenging to collect enough signatures to qualify a constitutional amendment for the ballot, and it would also impose a 55 percent supermajority requirement for proposed constitutional amendments.
I am passionate about animal welfare and therefore concerned that Amendment 71, if passed, will diminish citizens’ power to initiate constitutional amendments. This will bode poorly for animals.
Local animals groups do not have unlimited cash to spread out their signature gathering process as Amendment 71 suggests they should. That limits which groups can enact change at the ballot, severely diminishing the democratic process to change the state Constitution.
This is manipulation at its finest and adds hurdles to the power of petition and the ability for Colorado citizens to enact meaningful change. If you care about opposing animal cruelty and supporting voting rights, vote “no” on Amendment 71.
71 protects Coloradans from special interest groups
I support the “Raise the Bar” Amendment 71 and here’s why. Imagine a well-funded special-interest group spending millions of dollars to amend the Colorado constitution to benefit an out-of-state corporation. Ridiculous? Well, this is exactly what happened in 2014 when a Rhode Island gaming corporation spent millions trying to pass Amendment 68, which would have permitted casino gambling at horse racetracks in three Colorado counties. The amendment would have benefited one out-of-state corporation, but hurt Colorado’s homegrown gaming industry. The amendment failed, but the issue remains. Do we want our state constitution to be easy to manipulate by deep pocket, out of state special interest groups?
Colorado’s constitution is among the easiest state constitutions to amend. In 140 years of statehood, our state constitution has been amended more than 150 times. That is because Colorado requires fewer signatures than any other state to get on the statewide ballot, the 98,492 threshold reflecting 5 percent of those casting ballots for Colorado’s Secretary of State.
Also, there is no requirement that petition signatures be gathered throughout the state. Currently, the majority of petition signatures are gathered in the Denver and Boulder areas, leaving rural Coloradans without a voice. Once on the statewide ballot, it requires only a simple majority to amend our state constitution. Many other states require a 60 percent popular majority to amend their constitutions.
Amendment 71 would require petition signatures to reflect 2 percent of the registered voters in each of the state’s 35 senate districts and would require a 55 percent popular vote to pass. These changes would protect Coloradans from special interest groups who use citizen’s initiatives to advance their causes. Once cemented into our constitution, these policies are difficult to update or remove because of the permanency enshrined in our state’s foundational document.
Vote “Yes” on Amendment 71.