Opinion | Susan Knopf: ‘A fight worth winning’
Democracy is on the ballot in November. It was the top of conversation when Colorado’s U.S. Senator Michael Bennet stopped by to chat with the locals at Frisco Historic Park a few weeks ago.
Bennet said, “We are living in a moment when our democracy is incredibly fragile. Not just our democracy, but democracies all over the world.”
Bennet said the world is looking to us to lead, and that’s exactly what Bennet and other Democrats have been doing. Bennet was proud to list their accomplishments this year:
- Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill — “The largest investment in infrastructure since Eisenhower,” said Bennet.
- Bipartisan Gun Safety Bill — The first gun safety bill in a generation
- PACT Act — Supports veterans’ health
- Chips Bill — Bennet calls it the “Competition Bill,” which invests in U.S. computer chip manufacturing
- Climate Bill (Inflation Reduction Act) Bennet calls it the “most significant climate bill in the history of the United States of America.”
It cracks me up when people criticize the Democrats. I’ll gladly compare that list of accomplishments with any prior congress and administration. Democrats led in the fight to reduce prescription drug prices, maintain supports for kids in poverty, and to support people insured by the Affordable Care Act.
But it’s hard to cut through the vitriol to talk facts with people who believe the election was stolen, and Jan. 6, 2021, was mostly a peaceful demonstration. That’s why the rest of us need to pay attention to what’s really happening. It’s easy to be sucked into the regurgitated bad news of right wing no news media.
Bennet did a great job explaining how we got here.
He said we are suffering the results of 50 years of trickle-down economics, that created an economy, that is literally more unfair than it was in the 1920s. He said we have the same economic inequality and lack of mobility.
“We have some of the lowest economic mobility in the industrialized world,” Bennet said. He later added, “That didn’t happen by accident.”
The senator reminded us of 1980s Reaganomics — supply-side economics. Bennet said those policies privileged some “over everybody else in our capitalistic economy.” So our stuff was made “as cheaply as possible in China,” according to Bennet.”
He said that the people at the top of the economy were privileged over any other interest we might have, “like our own supply chain, over our national security, and creating good paying jobs here.”
Bennet says his town halls across the state all tell the same story.
“People say, Michael we are killing ourselves. We are working so hard.” Bennet says constituents say no matter what they do, they say they can’t afford basic needs like housing, health care, higher education, or early childhood education. He adds, “if you can find early childhood education because no one who teaches little kids in Colorado can afford to live in Colorado.”
Bennet says that’s what it looks like when the economy “grows for the top 10% and hasn’t grown for anybody else.”
“When people lose a sense of opportunity,… that’s when somebody shows up, and this is throughout human history, somebody says, ‘I alone can fix it. You don’t need democracy. You don’t need the rule of law. You should expect your public sector and your private sector to be hopelessly corrupt.’”
Bennet said that’s the “vision” the prior administration “tragically” gave America.
“The economy was so unfair we were willing to elect this tyrant.” He also called him a “pirate.”
“He appointed three justices to the Supreme Court, whose orthodoxy is so far outside the mainstream of conventional American … thought. We have now lost our first fundamental Constitutional right in American history: a woman’s right to choose.”
“I say our democracy is fragile,” Bennet said. “Now we know what it’s like to lose … those rights. We cannot let the Supreme Court have the last word about this fundamental freedom they have overturned.
“That is in part what this election is about. We need to elect pro-choice majorities in the United States Senate and the United States House. We need to elect pro-choice majorities in the Colorado legislature. Julie (McCluskey) and Dylan (Roberts) need your vote. These races really matter.”
Beyond rights, he focused on the vision of he and his fellow like-minded lawmakers share.
“We have a vision for an economy that … grows for everybody.”
You can see that vision in the bills passed that protect people and move the country’s business forward. Ask good questions. Do your own research and please vote. Bennet says, “All of us … if we do the work … we can save this democracy. That is a fight worth having. It’s a fight worth winning. And I’m going to be with you every step of the way.”
Susan Knopf’s column “For the Record” publishes biweekly on Fridays in the Summit Daily News. Knopf lives in Silverthorne. She is a certified ski instructor and an award-winning journalist. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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