Tinfoil hat brigade demands fealty from group of local county sheriffs
Time to bunker up, put on your tinfoil hat and hide your guns and bicycles.
You can’t make this stuff up. Unfortunately, we don’t have to here in Happy Valley.
There they were, hands over their hearts, reciting the Pledge of Allegiance prior to their grilling at the Masonic Lodge last Wednesday. Four elected county sheriffs were up in front of the Western Slope Conservative Alliance, being forced to defend their interactions with federal law enforcement agencies, reassure anxious conservatives they would act according to the Constitution and also protect their constituents against threats from the United Nations and other nefarious interlopers.
Even against a president supposedly anxious to confiscate our guns. Even though there’s been no evidence in the past 3 1/2 years he’s attempting to do any such thing.
The only things missing were tinfoil hats and black helicopters hovering overhead. Or maybe those drones supposedly used by the Environmental Protection Agency to spy on Midwestern farmers, another rumor debunked in the past few days after making its way through conservative political and media circles. It was traced all the way back to one of its originators, Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, R-Neb. Fortenberry promptly issued another outraged comment on the weekly “AgMinute” radio program of the House Agriculture Committee after his own rumor circled its way back to him nine days later.
“Are you with us or against us?” was the first question sheriffs Stan Hilkey of Mesa County, Fred McKee of Delta County, Rick Dunlap of Montrose County and Lou Vallario of Garfield County were faced with at the WSCA event.
With whom? Against what?
Oh, yeah, “When the tanks are rolling down the streets” and federal agencies are acting to confiscate our guns, according to one person.
Or our bicycles, if you can believe disgraced former GOP gubernatorial candidate Dan Maes, who, like some of those last Wednesday night, worried about something called Agenda 21, advanced by the United Nations and allegedly behind that outrageous bike-sharing program over in Denver.
I guess I’d better be figuring out how to mount gun racks on our bicycles so I can head for the hills and save the family firearms during the coming apocalypse. (And, yes, even a supposedly liberal newspaper columnist can own and appreciate good firearms, even if he’d rather rely on common sense and a lifetime of shooting experience than National Rifle Association rantings to formulate his opinions on guns, their use and ownership.)
What’s scary is that the group that put on this embarrassing show might not be the most conservative organization in local politics. The WSCA is considered part of the local GOP party structure, RINOs (Republicans In Name Only) by GJ Results, the other folks claiming to be the real “Tea Party” in these parts.
Somewhere, there’s room for realism in political discussions. Somewhere, common sense isn’t uncommon. Somewhere, tanks in the streets, federal gun confiscations and threats from U.N. takeovers are so far down the list of things to worry about that four county sheriffs don’t have to waste their time promising to “stand with you” against imagined excesses by our own government.
Not in Mesa County. And it’s not a new phenomenon around here, as we continue to race to the far right edge of a flat earth and political campaigns center on which candidate is most conservative rather than real issues that might interest informed voters.
Some 20 years ago, I was one of the candidates standing in front of the local Second Amendment committee in Sherwood Park. While I managed to emerge reasonably unscathed, other candidates weren’t so lucky.
I watched Tillie Bishop, already an icon in local and statewide Republican political circles, get thoroughly beat up over some real or imagined legislative slight to unimpeded gun ownership. Tim Foster decided he’d had enough and just left. And a fellow Democrat running for sheriff, Bob Silva, felt compelled to one up the rest of us by declaring that, by God, we all ought to be able to own armed MIG 21s if we wanted to.
We can only wish we had to make this stuff up instead of living with it every day.
“Remember, though, your best weapon is between yours ears and under your scalp, provided it’s loaded.” – Robert A. Heinlein.