Opinion | Susan Knopf: The emperor has no clothes | SummitDaily.com

Opinion | Susan Knopf: The emperor has no clothes

The emperor has no clothes

“We’re right on track,” said Summit County Commissioner Elisabeth Lawrence, leader of the Complete Count Committee (that’s the census). While President Donald Trump was busy trying to impose a citizenship question on the Constitutionally mandated census, Coloradans are already figuring how to count all community members.

On June 7, more than 50 people gathered at Frisco Town Hall to strategize how Summit County can turn in a better count than last time. Lawrence estimates just 21% of county residents were counted in 2010. That’s a tragedy. The census is a big deal. Locals “don’t understand how truly important the census is,” Lawrence said. The census controls our representation in Congress, funding for a myriad of programs from roads to the Summit Stage to our public schools to child care.

Who gets counted? Anybody who calls Summit County home April 1, 2020.

“We hope if you live here seasonally, you will plan to live here April 1, 2020, and take the time to be counted, so you are counted,” Lawrence said.

You count if you live here or work here, sleep on a friend’s couch or in a car or a tent. Lawrence said people think because they own land they’ll be counted. Nope. Gotta fill out a census form. And that’s where it get’s a little complicated.

This year, the census will be online. Folks with physical addresses will get reminders to go online, but those reminders are not planned to be dropped in P.O. boxes, the way most Summit County folks get their mail. So we’ve got to get the word out. That will be happening starting in the fall. That’s why representatives from the Summit County Restaurant Association, the Hotel Association, Family Intercultural Resource Center, Summit Foundation, Summit Colorado Interfaith Council, Summit County School District and other local organizations all attended the June meeting to get their game plan on.

Lawrence expressed concern that Summit County second-home owners might not be counted anywhere if April 1 happens to be a vacation day or a travel day. One thing Lawrence did not equivocate about was the necessity to count noncitizen residents. If they don’t vote, why do we need to count them? Simple, they live and work here. They use the roads, the schools, the rec center. They live here, so they count. Only about half the eligible U.S. citizens vote. So if we only counted the people who vote, then only about half our country would be counted. And that really wouldn’t make sense, would it? We count everybody who lives here because they are part of our community.

That is a very different perspective than that of our president who appears to prefer to tear apart our communities. The Supreme Court voted, 5-4, against the Trump administration’s efforts to include a citizenship question on the census. Trump vowed to fight the decision, and delay the census. Then in an abrupt about face, according to the Los Angeles Times, “Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, whose agency oversees the Census Bureau, said he still disagreed with the Supreme Court’s decision. But, he added, ‘the Census Bureau has started the process of printing the decennial questionnaires without the question.'”

For the record, Article 1, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution mandates the census, the “actual enumeration” every 10 years. But we have seen Trump attempt to obstruct justice, interfere with the lawful and Constitutional operation of government. This wasn’t the only blow to his unlawful agenda.

Last week, NBC and other news organizations reported the U.S. District Court for Northern California ruled against Trump in two lawsuits. “Judge Haywood S. Gilliam Jr. ruled the president, Department of Defense (DoD), Department of Homeland Security and Department of the Treasury may not ‘construct a border barrier’ along El Paso, Texas; Yuma, Arizona; and El Centro, California, sectors of the boundary ‘using funds reprogrammed by DoD.'” That suit was brought by Sierra Club and the Southern Border Communities Coalition.

“In the other suit, brought by California and New Mexico, the judge concluded that the administration’s attempts to use military funds for ‘border barrier construction’ in the El Paso and El Centro sectors is unlawful.”

“This decision upholds the basic principle that the president has no power to spend taxpayer money without Congress’ approval,” said Dror Ladin, staff attorney with the ACLU’s National Security Project who argued the case for the Sierra Club and Southern Border Communities Coalition, according to NBC.

The president called the court decisions a “disgrace.” The disgrace is this president’s refusal to accept the rule of law and his role as our chief executive to enforce those laws. Those of us who cherish the Constitution and the rule of law would like to know when the president’s base supporters will finally figure it out: The emperor has no clothes! Please join us in our demand for lawful government that serves all the people.

Susan Knopf’s column “For The Record” publishes Fridays in the Summit Daily News. Knopf has worn many hats in her career, including working as an award-winning journalist and certified ski instructor. She moved to Silverthorne in 2013 after vacationing in Summit County since the 1970s. Contact her at sdnknopf@gmail.com.

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