Opinion | Knopf: Wake up, Democrats, and take back your flag | SummitDaily.com

Opinion | Knopf: Wake up, Democrats, and take back your flag

Susan Knopf
Guest column

A Democratic campaign worker walked up to a door to drop some election information. The American flag was waving proudly in the front yard. When the homeowner opened the door, he said, "Can't you see the flag?! I'm a Republican!" Now that's an attitude we need to change!

Progressives, claim your flag. Newsflash! The far right does not have an exclusive right to love of flag and country. All patriots are not Republicans. Quite a few generals are Trump challengers and foes.

If you didn't know it already, after watching Republicans confirm the most controversial candidate for the Supreme Court with the fewest votes in U. S. history, we are officially entering the crazy zone. Democrats, claim your flag! Wave it proudly. Fly it in your yard and at your business. Speak patriotically.

Somehow our willingness to be self-critical, in order to pursue a better stronger nation, ran head long into the "Love it or Leave it" crowd. Dear conservatives, we are not leaving, and we love our flag and country just as much as you. Guess what? Just as we don't expect our kids to stay adorably 3 years old forever — we expect to grow up. We expect growing pains. We expect to grow our nation. Here's the scary part right wingers: that means change! Our best years aren't behind us. They are ahead of us. We don't have to make America great again. We never stopped being great. Great nations change, grow and progress or they die in stagnation.

Those who think it's OK to lie about drinking and sexual predatory practices are in for a big surprise this November. But only if you register and vote! Don't wait. Do it today! I've got a few ideas about who and what you might vote for, if you like positive progressive change that makes your life better (instead of tax breaks that mostly serve the uber-rich).

Vote "Yes" on Y and Z. Amendments Y and Z are endorsed by the League of Women Voters, Conservation Colorado, Common Cause and every living governor of Colorado. The slogan: "Voters should choose their politicians." (And not the other way around!) This amendment will stop gerrymandering that causes a state to be overrepresented by one party, particularly when that party actually represents a minority of the registered voters. There's a great article about gerrymandering on Wikipedia. Share it with the kids. The place to find all the non-partisan information you want is Ballotpedia.org. Pro Y and Z information can be found at FairMapsColorado.com.

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Amendments Y and Z work the same way to draw fair and competitive districts. Each amendment creates a 12-member independent redistricting commission responsible for redistricting Colorado's districts. Amendment Y is for congressional redistricting and Amendment Z is for state legislative redistricting. Each commission would include four members from the state's largest political party, four from the state's second largest political party and four that are not affiliated with any political party. The final map would require the approval of eight of the 12 members, including at least two members that are not affiliated with any political party. Under the amendment, districts would need to be competitive. "Requiring the commission to draw districts with a focus on communities of interest and political subdivisions, such as cities and counties, and then to maximize the number of competitive congressional seats to the extent possible; and prohibiting maps from being drawn to dilute the electoral influence of any racial or ethnic group or to protect any incumbent, any political candidate, or any political party." Amendment Y politicians and lobbyists would be barred from serving on the commission. A "Yes" vote means yes, and "No" vote means no. No crazy backward language on this one.

Another easy one is choosing Phil Weiser for attorney general. He is the most qualified person for the job. Ignore the attack ads talking about his lack of courtroom experience. As far as anyone can tell no AG has personally defended the State of Colorado in court. That's just not what the AG does. More about that …

Phil Weiser was the dean of University of Colorado Law School. Perhaps more interesting, he is the founder and executive director of the Silicon Flatirons Center for Law, Technology, and Entrepreneurship. It's a mouthful. What does that mean, and why should you care? You can get all the details at the law school site on his vitae. The bottom line is that it connects the community, different academic disciplines, would-be student entrepreneurs, and helps kick start businesses and leap regulatory hurdles.

The competition would like you to believe Weiser hasn't practiced law in Colorado. He did better than that. He taught Colorado's lawyers and supervised those who teach lawyers.

Weiser clerked for two U.S. Supreme Court justices, and worked for two U.S. presidents, in the White House and in the Justice Department. He is a constitutional and policy law expert, with a winning track record. Those are the qualifications that make him perfect to defend Colorado's laws and citizens. He has already supervised an army of lawyers working on a large number of diverse cases, exactly what he'll do for us as AG.

We need a slugger who knows more than Colorado law. We need an AG who knows the Justice Department and can defend Colorado's marijuana laws, coming under close scrutiny by the federal government. He has the clout to advance Colorado's interests against any interference from the federal government, thirsty downstream western states, and high-powered assaults from an array of industries and anybody else that thinks they can pick our pockets.

Remember the attorney general doesn't make the laws. The Legislature does that. So his positions on political issues don't concern me as much as his ability to get the job done. He's been demonstrating that in exemplary fashion for decades.

More important information you need about key issues and races will be featured next week.

Susan Knopf is a Summit County resident. She has won awards from the Associated Press and United Press International for her news reporting.