Democratic elected officials are literally playing with fire when they continue to coddle the anarchists and extremists whose only agenda is to destroy public and private property.
Peaceful protest is critical to our constitutional form of government and our political process, but we have seen all too often how these legitimate protests are overtaken by those whose only agenda is violent destruction. And Democratic elected officials both here in Colorado and across the nation are complicit by their silence and refusal to confront this insidious movement.
Downtown Denver is a disgrace. The Colorado State Capitol is a disgrace. Hardworking small business owners and their employees have lost their livelihoods due to unrestrained violence. Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and Gov. Jared Polis allowed night after night of vandalism and desecration by rioting mobs in downtown Denver.
Homeless camps were allowed to flourish for months across the street from the defaced Capitol building as Hancock and Polis argued over who was responsible for that small stretch of state land in Civic Center Park, the Denver Police or the Colorado State Patrol.
Not until there was a triple shooting and homicide did these two feckless “leaders” finally decide to take some action. It took direct criticism from former Republican Gov. Bill Owens for Polis to move from dismissing the Capitol carnage as “spray paint that can be cleaned” to finally condemning the destruction.
Morey Middle School and the stately St. John’s Episcopal Cathedral just a few blocks east of the defaced Capitol were surrounded by homeless camps and the sordid presence of drug dealing and prostitution. Nearby residents watched as their neighborhoods were threatened by this lawlessness.
But in fairness to the current mayor, the escalation of the homeless problem in Denver did not start with Hancock. You can trace it back to the current Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate, ethically challenged John Hickenlooper, who started his failed “10 year plan to end homelessness” while he was mayor of Denver in 2005.
Rather than reducing homelessness, Hickenlooper made Denver a national magnet resulting in more homeless than ever in Denver. When the Hickenlooper program ended in 2015, serious questions lingered about what the funds were used for and where they went.
Meanwhile, some of our nation’s largest cities are experiencing even more destruction as rioting mobs attack public and private property while their leaders seek to defund and eliminate police departments. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco waved off the destruction saying “people do what they do.”
Democratic mayors and governors across the nation either outright support the leftist movement to defund the police or are working to undermine the ability of the police to protect people along with public and private property.
There is no doubt that actions must be taken to address abuses by bad police officers and for police departments nationwide to review and, if necessary, reform their procedures. But the vast, vast majority of police officers are responsible professionals who are dedicated to protecting their communities.
2020 has already seen the kind of upheaval rarely seen in other election years. A partisan attempt to remove the president through impeachment suspended Congress for months. The coronavirus pandemic has killed thousands and many more have gotten ill while our thriving economy was severely damaged by the pandemic.
And now Gov. Polis, Mayor Hancock and Democratic elected officials across the nation have failed miserably in their primary responsibility to protect our communities from violence and destruction.
Dick Wadhams is a GOP political consultant and former Colorado Republican State Chairman.