John Colson: Game on in America: time to pay attention |

John Colson: Game on in America: time to pay attention

John Colson
Hit & Run

And so it begins; yet another battle for the heart and soul, perhaps even the continued existence of our American political experiment.

I hope we’re all prepared for a hard slog over the course of the coming nine months or so, because it’s not going to be pretty.

Sadly, the Republican party seems to have coalesced completely behind ramparts constructed of intense intolerance for anyone who doesn’t look, think or vote like they do, mixed with ample pinches of racism, corporatism, wealth-oriented elitism and a determination to hold on to power no matter what happens to our democratic institutions.

Democrats, who are undeniably more progressive than their counter parts in the Grand Old Party (GOP, in political shorthand), also are undeniably less monolithically organized, less fanatical about their goals and less ruthless in their efforts to put together a winning campaign at the various levels of government.

In short, the Democrats continue to fight among themselves to their own detriment during each election cycle, demonstrating a raucously gleeful ability to get in each other’s way as they argue out the various planks of election platforms and other details.

I have to say that I much prefer the Democrats’ general atmosphere of chaos, inclusivity and outreach to the far-flung fringes of our national life.

The kind of lock-step, grim adherence to the party line exhibited by Republicans, to me, brings to mind visions of Nazis marching to Hitler’s tune in the 1930s and ’40s, or the military parades so common in such places as Russia and China. This makes it completely understandable that our current commander-in-chief wants to mount just those sorts of parades in Washington, D.C., since he has been trying to cozy up to Russian President Vladimir Putin and China’s Xi Jinping ever since the 2016 election, evidence of our president’s authoritarian impulses.

Another bit of evidence, of course, was seen on full display last week during the State of the Union (SOTU) address, in which our president rolled out his fabulist’s tale of how great he has made our country in his first term, and turned the event into a veritable game-show format by highlighting certain citizens he claimed to have helped to harvest the country’s “greatness.” This type of performance is standard fare in totalitarian regimes, but rather unusual in the U.S. until the current administration took over.

One of those heartwarming SOTU fables, unfortunately for the president, turned out to be a complete fabrication. A young black student, Janiyah Davis, was in the gallery and was promised a special scholarship to get her out of the “failing government schools.” But she turned out to be attending one of the best schools in Philadelphia, which is a publicly funded school and thus free to the students, so Janiyah did not need the scholarship. The situation, as reported by The Philadelphia Inquirer, deeply puzzled both Janiyah and her mom, who were not told about the plans to use them as pawns in the president’s public relations game.

All that aside, as I have noted before in this space, voters and citizens who want to rid the republic of its current corrupt presidential administration have some work ahead of them.

And here in Colorado, we have a path to help us reach that goal.

I had the good fortune to visit briefly last weekend with Lorena Garcia, a Democrat by party and a candidate in the 2020 race for Colorado’s up-for-grabs U.S. Senate seat, currently held by Republican Cory Gardner.

Gardner, whose steady support for the criminal in the Oval Office (Donald J. Trump, in case you’ve been asleep for three-and-a-half years) has whipped up a firestorm of criticism among Colorado’s Democrats, Independents, progressives of all stripes and just about anyone not deeply in thrall to the GOP.

Garcia, as an example, is a single-payer supporter in the health care arena, a progressive on immigration policies, favors tuition-free higher education in public institutions and is a booster of the Green New Deal.

She, like former President Barack Obama, has spent years as an organizer for social and economic justice initiatives, and makes no secret of her progressive agenda. She is one of 10 (at last count) challengers aiming at Gardner’s job, a list that includes former Gov. John Hickenlooper and former state senator Andrew Romanoff (see the Ballotpedia website for more).

Gardner, on the other hand, is a career politician (a tag that used to be poison for Republicans) elected to his seat in 2014 after having served prior terms in the U.S. House of Representatives and the Colorado Statehouse.

He has spent his years in the senate carefully avoiding controversy, other than his general devotion to the current president’s anti-democratic, anti-human, pro-corporate agenda, though he opposed Trump’s Justice Department in 2018 when it threatened to enforce federal drug laws against Colorado’s legal marijuana industry.

Gardner likely imagines he can easily dismiss Garcia as a “socialist” and a dreamer, but after talking with her I concluded that he might find that she has a straight and strong backbone and a depth of passion and intelligence he would ignore at his peril.

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