Bipartisanship is in bloom at the state capitol – and in the case of one bill introduced to the legislature last week, we would be better off if it wasn’t. Last week, state Representatives Matt Soper (R) and Cathy Kipp (D) announced that they were cosponsoring a bill to accomplish a goal many elected officials have long dreamed of: making sure you cannot see their emails.
I was raised to take over the world for God. My teachers have been sorely disappointed on that front. It is not something I spend much time talking about because it’s not something I spend much time thinking about. It was the milieu of my childhood, and I had no say in the matter. As a pastor’s kid from Nashville, Tennessee, I was steeped in religious conservatism from birth. The impetus towards a highly political, far-right version of Christianity which seeks to conquer the world for Christ, though, didn’t come from my family so much as it came from my classical Christian school. We were taught that we were special, that the world was fallen and we could redeem it. We were taught that America was a Christian nation which had drifted off course, but that a faithful generation could restore it.
On an unseasonably warm Sunday afternoon in January 2021, my friends and I gathered around a shoddy table in a borrowed conference room for the specific purpose of causing trouble. Some were legislative aides, historically underpaid and mistreated at the state Capitol. Some were campaign workers, historically underpaid and mistreated on the campaign trail. All of us knew we deserved better, and all of us had come to the realization that asking nicely wasn’t going to do the trick. We had gathered to put a collective foot down.
At age 100, after decades of fame, fortune, and acclaim, Henry Kissinger has finally died. While etiquette traditionally discourages dancing on graves, I believe that an exception should be made in this case: Henry Kissinger was not a good man. He was not a genius. He was not a public servant. Henry Kissinger was a paranoid, narcissistic, egomaniacal warmonger. He was a man unbothered by the buckets of blood on his hands; an avatar of unrepentance.
The floor of the Ute Pass Cultural Center quaked in time with the bass drum on Tuesday night as hundreds of Woodland Park citizens crowded into the room to await election results. By 6pm, an hour before polls closed, the venue was packed, the sounds of laughter and conversation competing only with the soulful voice of the band’s singer – who I finally realized was Erin O’Connell, the local parent-turned-activist who has led much of the charge against the town’s controversial school board. The anxiety and anticipation which grips the first hour of so many election night parties was absent, replaced by the palpable relief the community felt at having finally made it to this point.
The process for founding a new charter school in Colorado is not exactly simple, but it is straightforward. Interested parents and community members come together, get some ducks in a row, and then file an application with the local school board, which has the legal authority to approve or deny charters. If a charter is granted, the process of opening the new charter school in the district begins. If the school board denies the charter, that’s the end of it.
The most important school board races in Colorado this year are not on the Front Range, and are rarely in the press. They are tucked into high valleys beyond the curtains of peaks, attracting little notice and even less money. While school board races in Denver routinely attract tens of thousands of voters and millions of dollars in outside spending, the races carrying the real stakes of the November elections could be decided by dozens of votes, or a few thousand dollars. Rural school board races have never been as important as they are this year, and their ramifications could be felt statewide.
If a germ touches me, it dies,” the faith healer proclaimed at the height of the pandemic. Not everyone was so lucky: though he personally claimed to be protected by faith-based immunity, Andrew Wommack’s constant flouting of local health ordinances, his desire to pack the sanctuary at Charis Bible College with hundreds of people at a time, led to multiple fatal outbreaks of the virus in Teller County. Now, three years later, Wommack’s ministry empire has infected Woodland Park with a new strain of contagion, this time through the ballot box.