2023 Leg Session, Columnists, Featured, Gold Dome, Jon Caldara, Uncategorized

Caldara: One-party rulers bully public who come to testify

(Your can read this column, read by the author, here.)

Hubris. Condescension. Arrogance. Self-importance. Haughtiness.

I would like to put up just one small, recent vignette as an example of the sheer imperiousness that the ruling party of Colorado displays toward its subjects. Oh, no doubt Republicans can be sore losers in their super-super-minority status as they’ve continually lost more and more power over the last two decades.

Example? When the majority party chooses a Speaker of the House, that person always gets a ceremonial unanimous vote from the entire chamber; been done for over a century. This year eight of the woeful 19 Republican state representatives withheld their vote from Democratic Speaker Julie McCluskie.

Stay classy Republicans.

But Democrats have never held such raw, unadulterated power in Colorado history. One might think that since their boot is on the neck of their political opponents and they have free rein to implement all desires at will, they might, if just for a false public display of graciousness, act professional. But nay.

In the NFL the referee throws the flag on “excessive celebration.” Sadly, in the State Capitol, there is no referee to throw a flag on “defecating on your opponent’s grave.”

Take the State Affairs Committee, known as the kill committee, because that’s where bills are sent to die. Two Republican pro-gun bills were being heard before their swift and certain murders. The chair, Democrat Steve Woodrow, still found it necessary to Tweet insults of the bills and Republican colleagues WHILE chairing the proceedings. The bills died as they were going to, 8 to 2, no gratuitous insulting needed.

Do the Kansas City Chiefs tweet insults about junior high school teams?

But berating constituents hits a new, truly deviant level of Democrats being sore winners.

Using my best Rod Serling, let me take you to a place where under flickering fluorescent lights a handful of swaggering officials pretend to listen to the pleas of parents who want their children’s brains returned to their bodies after stolen without the parent’s permission or knowledge.

Okay. Not quite. It was the House Public and Behavioral Health Services Committee hearing over House Bill 1003 which would let sixth-graders and up go get “mental assessments” administered by the state without the permission of their parents and, as introduced, without even parental notification.

Well-intentioned I’m sure, but also the origin story of great dystopian science fiction stories for decades. I mean really, what could go wrong?

So, the committee room is packed with concerned parents; many I assume have read sci-fi. One lady didn’t have to. She lived it. Victoria Chen testified against the bill.

Being in America for only seven years, her English was broken and her personality a bit meek. She explained systems like the one proposed encourages kids to keep secrets from their parents. It’s what they have where she escaped, communist China. She said parents must know and approve medical and psychological testing of their children.

The nerve! One representative on the committee, Iman Jodeh, puffed up on victimhood, scolded this Chinese immigrant, “What you said offends me!”

Put in her place by those in power, Chen humbly said, “I apologize.”

A citizen testifies. A legislator berates her into an apology. The chair doesn’t intervene. Is this the new democracy in Colorado? Intimidating witnesses?

Another mom, Dee Dee Vicino, testified against the bill then added this needed observation to Jodeh, “You felt insulted by Victoria Chen. Well, I and almost everyone in this room felt insulted by you. I think you owe her an apology.”

The room erupted in cheers. Mary Young, chairing the committee, instead of seeing the clear validity of the issue, defended the bullying and censorship of her colleague by saying to Vicino, “We will discuss the issue of the bill and we will not attack representatives.”

Vicino had the state of mind to speak the truth to power, “And representatives will not attack their constituents, correct?”

Not correct. In the new one-party domination, all decorum, all respect, all tradition of letting witness speak unmolested is a relic of the past.

Rep Young’s response to this plea for equal treatment to constituents from their public servants was, “I will ask you to leave.”

Like Chen, Vicino obeyed.

Our rulers live by one set of rules. We by another.

We have had one-party rule in Colorado many times before, but never on this mega-scale.

The corrupting power is beginning to fall in on itself.

Jon Caldara is president of the Independence Institute, a free market think tank in Denver.


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