Opinion | Susan Knopf: The red mirage

Susan Knopf / Summit Daily News

I am thankful that we got through this election cycle and proved history, and the analysts wrong.

A lot of liars lost. American democracy won. Thank you voters!

Democrats held the U.S. Senate. Unfortunately, the House will be stuck in a toxic red tide.

Republican politicians and pundits predicted a red tsunami. Barely a ripple lapped our shores.

That ripple matters. You see it in the senseless deaths of five people at a Colorado Springs LGBTQ nightclub.

The highest ranking openly gay official, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg told CBS News, “You can’t target a group to be feared and to be hated, and then act surprised when (someone) goes out and follows that through with physical violence.”

A Republican congresswoman, who just squeaked out reelection in our neighboring district, is famous for her incendiary hateful anti-gay tweets.

I texted and called voters for the Democrats this election cycle. I got vitriolic hate from those who identified as Republican. Someone texted me, “I’d rather wipe my ass with cactus than vote for a Democrat.” 

Why is that?

Right-wing media, and the leaders of the red hat party, persistently cultivated no holds barred hate targeting, gays, Jews, immigrants, minorities and Democrats. 

We all have to acknowledge one party is trying to build the country, and one is trying to destroy it.

I try to break through red hat propaganda with family and friends. I told them about Denver Riggleman, a former Freedom Caucus congressman and veteran. He told CNN’s Anderson Cooper he served in military intelligence for 20 years, and worked on the Jan. 6 committee investigation.

For the record, he analyzed the texts released by former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. Riggleman told CBS 60 minutes, “These texts provide irrefutable time-stamped proof of a comprehensive plot at all levels of government to overturn the election.”

One red-hatted family member said, Jan. 6 is nothing compared to what we have on Hunter Biden. I want to laugh. I want to cry.

It’s not just the election they want to overturn. They want to destroy all social progress of the past 50 years.

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas says he’s ready to revisit (read overturn) Constitutional protections for contraception and same sex marriage.

Anti-choice campaigners aren’t pro-life. They are about driving women and children into poverty. The child tax credit was extended during the pandemic and is credited for relieving 50% of child poverty. Democrats tried to extend it again. Every Republican opposed it, and it failed.

Back to Colorado Springs … the shooter was on law enforcement radar for threatening to blow up his own family. His family, or law enforcement, could have pursued an extreme
risk protection (red flag) order.

El Paso County Sheriff Bill Elder told 9News, “We’re not going to pursue these on our own. Meaning, the sheriff’s office isn’t going to run over and try to get a court order.” I guess he’d rather see people die, than protect them from senseless gun violence. 

Summit County Sheriff Jaime FitzSimons said his office pursued just one extreme risk protection order, and the judge denied it. He wrote in an email, “I think we should take a second look at how the current law is written and how we might hone this existing tool so that sheriffs can be more successful at obtaining a signed order from a judge and better protect their communities.”

Governor Jared Polis told Colorado Public Radio it’s important that people use the law to protect our communities.

This conversation seems like it’s all over the map. It’s not.

One political group promotes hate, and putting guns in the hands of people who hate.

The Democrats advocate inclusivity. Love who you want. Marry who you want. Use contraception, or don’t. Make your own medical choices — terminate an unviable, life-threatening or unwanted pregnancy. Protect gun rights for responsible gun owners, and protect people from those who shouldn’t have guns.

When you vote for red hats you vote for hate, violence and child poverty. When you vote Democrat you vote for hope.

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving. And next election I hope everyone, in every district, votes for freedom of choice, freedom to love and freedom from gun violence.

Please pass the jalapeño cranberry relish.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

As a Summit Daily News reader, you make our work possible.

Summit Daily is embarking on a multiyear project to digitize its archives going back to 1989 and make them available to the public in partnership with the Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection. The full project is expected to cost about $165,000. All donations made in 2023 will go directly toward this project.

Every contribution, no matter the size, will make a difference.