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!

GREG ISAMAN
Grand Junction


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.

ASHLEY DIGRADO
Clifton


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.

MEGAN STARR
Grand Junction


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Kudos to Greg Isaman for re-calling Sentinel readers’ attention to the inadequacies of Donald Trump as a presidential prospect (“Trump comes off like a third-world dictator”).

Daily Sentinel readers should also be interested to know that – although unfortunately unreported in the Sentinel – on Wednesday, the venerable Atlantic Magazine endorsed Hillary Clinton for President, only its third presidential endorsement in its 159-year history (Abe Lincoln in 1860; LBJ in 1964).

In doing so, The Atlantic’s editors presaged Isaman’s observations, describing Trump as “the most ostentatiously unqualified major-party candidate in the 227-year history of the American presidency”.

The Atlantic also echoed the editors of multiple major newspapers across the country (including USA Today) in opining that – in stark contrast to Clinton:

Donald Trump . . . has no record of public service and no qualifications for public office.  His affect is that of an infomercial huckster; he traffics in conspiracy theories and racist invective; he is appallingly sexist; he is erratic, secretive, and xenophobic; he expresses admiration for authoritarian rulers, and evinces authoritarian tendencies himself.  He is easily goaded, a poor quality for someone seeking control of America’s nuclear arsenal.  He is an enemy of fact-based discourse; he is ignorant of, and indifferent to, the Constitution; he appears not to read.

Judged by their vituperative comments published by the Sentinel, Trump’s gaggle of like-minded supporters include an appallingly gullible “basket of deplorables” – unrepentant “birthers”, racists, misogynists, nativists, and xenophobes (some of whom also “express admiration for authoritarian leaders” like Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler), who are also “easily goaded” into nonsensical fact-free rants, and who are also ignorant of and/or indifferent to our actual Constitution (which they appear not to have read).

As demonstrated in Tuesday’s Vice-Presidential “debate”, Trump and his running-mate—failed Indian Governor Mike Pence – are still intent on dissembling their way into office.

On the other hand, their candidacy has performed a valuable public service by exposing the unprincipled cynicism of the Republican Party and its “base”, the abject emptiness of “conservative values”, and the pressing need to reform our “rigged” tax system.

Now that we know that the Republican Party (once, the Party of Lincoln”) has chosen as its presidential standard-bearer an unrepentant serial groper and habitual sexual assaulter, it’s time to recognize that the “G.O.P.” has become the party of “Groping Old Perverts”.

In fact, recent revelations capture the essence of Donald Trump’s flim-flam campaign.  Thus, having already enlisted his children to lie for him about his tax returns, back on May 16 he allowed his daughter Ivanka to publicly claim that “he’s not a groper” – knowing all the while that her loyal but naïve claim was at least historically false.

Then, at the Republican National Convention on July 21, the internet “erupted” when Trump seemed to “lightly grope” Ivanka herself in front of millions of viewers.  Now, as reported on the Sentinel’s Saturday front-page (“Trump apologizes for making vulgar comments about women”), it appears that Trump’s sexist behavior toward women is deeply ingrained – prompting the New York Times to call him “Groper-in-Chief”.  See:  http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/09/opinion/sunday/donald-trump-groper-in-chief.html.

Moreover, while Trump’s Vice-Presidential running mate – failed Indiana Governor Mike Pence—was reportedly “beside himself” and his wife “furious” at Trump’s lewd language, some hypocritical Evangelical Christians still consider Trump to be “the best candidate”.  See: http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/‘still-the-best-candidate’-some-evangelicals-still-back-trump-despite-lewd-video/ar-BBxabjy?ocid=spartanntp.  So much for “family values” and “exemplary role model”.

Of course, Pence is just as bad for women as Trump – albeit in a different kind of way.  As he brazenly admitted during the Vice-Presidential “debate” on Tuesday, Pence would impose his own misogynistic religious beliefs on all women – because he neither respects their personhood nor trusts women who don’t share his extreme beliefs to make their own respective moral decisions about abortion, their constitutional rights notwithstanding.  See:  http://www.cosmopolitan.com/politics/a4494411/mike-pence-anti-abortion-views/.
 
Moreover, Pence lied about Trump’s stated intent to “punish women” who have abortions – knowing full well that an Indiana woman had already been sentenced to (but spared) 20-years in prison under the unconstitutional Indiana law that Pence himself had signed.  See:  http://www.salon.com/2016/10/05/purvi-patel-what-you-need-to-know-about-the-woman-arrested-under-gov-mike-pences-abortion-law/.

What more do women (and men concerned about the futures of their daughters and granddaughters) need to hold Republicans at all levels accountable at the polls on (and before) November 8 for their willing affiliation with these two “deplorable” sexists?

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