“When you hear the word ‘sanctuary city,’ ‘sustainability’ or even the word ‘bike path,’ that’s an attack on your private property rights- it’s an attack on you.”
That was the warning Tony Sanchez, a Republican candidate for a state senate seat in Jefferson County, issued to fellow Republicans at a convention in March.
As you can see, he did not explain why sustainability and bike paths are such a threat, but he didn’t have to. This isn’t the first time a Colorado Republican has shared the popular conspiracy theory that biking trails and other municipal efforts to go green are part of a nefarious plan of world domination.
In 2010, gubernatorial candidate Dan Maes claimed that Denver’s pro-bike policies were “converting Denver into a United Nations community.”
Maes said in a later interview that he once thought the mayor’s efforts to promote cycling and other environmental initiatives were harmless and well-meaning. Now he realizes “that’s exactly the attitude they want you to have.”
“This is bigger than it looks like on the surface, and it could threaten our personal freedoms…These aren’t just warm, fuzzy ideas from the mayor. These are very specific strategies that are dictated to us by this United Nations program that mayors have signed on to.”
This conspiracy theory remains popular among far-right conservatives. Two years after Maes’ comments, The Atlantic magazine published a feature article on it, “Inside Agenda 21: The International Tyranny of Bike Lanes.”
Congressman Scott Tipton joined in the fun that year as well. From his press release:
“[Tipton] opposes the United Nations Agenda 21 mandate. There is broad, bi-partisan opposition in Congress to the U.S. ceding any sovereignty to the U.N. on Agenda 21 or other issues.”