Governor Jared Polis, in his second year in office, appeared before the Colorado legislature a couple of weeks ago to deliver his annual State of the State address. What’s usually a respectful, dignified and even festive event was disrupted just minutes before the governor entered the House chamber by a rowdy crowd of climate-change extremists and anti-frackers affiliated with the “Sunrise Movement” and “Extinction Rebellion.”
Cued by a shout of “mike test” from a few protestors seated in the upstairs gallery, others began shouting out slogans for their cause. Ultimately, the Colorado State Patrol and Denver police had to intervene. The protestors were removed and some who resisted were handcuffed and carried out. Once order was seemingly restored, Polis entered the chamber to a standing ovation, except for one protesting straggler who shouted “ban fracking now!” Other protestors unfurled a large anti-fracking banner, occupied the Capitol hallways and screamed chants that could be heard in the House chamber as Polis spoke.
So what did these unruly protestors accomplish? Really, nothing. Governor Polis and Democrat legislators, who hold a ruling majority in both houses, are already committed to aggressive fossil fuel restrictions. The protestors didn’t win any friends at the Capitol or change any minds. If anything, they alienated some legislators and many in the public. You may recall that Colorado voters strongly rejected Proposition 112 on the 2018 ballot, which would have imposed radical restrictions on oil and gas development, and fracking.
By interfering with elected officials conducting the people’s business, the anti-fracking protestors defy the democratic process. No one elected them to anything. This isn’t Hong Kong, where citizens risk their lives to oppose Communist China’s suppression of their democracy and fundamental freedoms. Here, it’s just a disagreement over specific energy policies, best left to representative government in our Constitutional republic, not to angry mobs.
But activists who engage in unnecessary, theatrical, civil disobedience are oblivious to their public perception as unhinged extremists. They’re driven by a delusional, self-indulgent conviction that only they are right and any who oppose their agenda are unworthy, irrelevant and evil. They believe they’re doing, if not God’s work, at least Gaia’s ─ the Goddess of Mother Earth. For them, protesting is gratifying and fun. They feel like it empowers them. Getting arrested is a badge of honor and pride, which earns them another civil disobedience battle-ribbon to pin on their chest.
Diana Bray could be their poster girl. A champion of civil disobedience and a dogmatic “climate activist” who brags about her participation in an anti-Keystone Pipeline protest in Washington, where people locked themselves to the White House fence. She’s also a lesser figure in the crowd of Democrats seeking the party’s nomination to unseat Sen. Corey Gardner. Thirty-eight of the Capitol protestors were arrested and charged with trespassing, disrupting a lawful assembly and obstruction of police officers. True to form, the shamelessly liberal Denver Post showcased Bray, running her guest commentary under the headline: “Drop charges against Polis protestors who fought peacefully for change.” And they ran it twice, Jan. 16 and 19!
“Fighting peacefully” is an oxymoron. Resisting arrest isn’t a peaceful act. Yes, lawful demonstrations are a legitimate activity, protected by the Constitution. But civil disobedience isn’t protected when it’s uncivil and unlawful, like trespassing, infringing on the rights of others and resisting arrest. These protestors broke the law and ought to pay the consequences, like a steep fine or jail time, which they should eagerly do as martyrs for their cause, lending even more pride to their protest battle-ribbon. (Predictably, all they’ll get is a slap on the wrist.)
Bray implores regular people to stand up to the fossil fuel industry. We’ll, I’m a regular person who’s grateful for fossil fuels and fracking, which have lowered the cost of oil and gas and greatly increased its supply, making us independent of fickle foreign sources. Fossil fuels power autos and airplanes, provide heating, electricity, fertilizer, plastics, clothing, cosmetics, medications, petroleum jelly, golf balls, skis, aspirin, tires, dentures, shoes and thousands of other products for which there are no practical or economic substitutes, nor will there be for the foreseeable future.
Another Bray villain is “big-money interests” that oppose her activist agenda. But she ignores the big money billionaires like Democrat presidential wannabe Tom Steyer who’s spent lavishly to fund environmental extremism, as do a legion of well-funded enviro activist groups all abetted by the outsized influence of the dominant liberal media which spreads its anti-fossil fuel bias on a daily basis.
Longtime KOA radio talk host and columnist for the Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News Mike Rosen now writes for CompleteColorado.com.