It’s heart-breaking to read the daily accounts of the Syrian government shelling neighborhoods and snipers gunning down protesting citizens in the streets. Syria, sadly, is hardly the only place where speaking one’s mind or seeking political change can be met with threats and violence.
Sometimes the brutality comes from the government itself. Sometimes the acts of intimidation and bloodshed come from extra-legal gangs acting in concert with those in power.
Thank goodness we live in a country where one doesn’t have to fear violence for one’s political beliefs and activities.
Or do we?
Like many cities and states in our land, Colorado’s public employee pension system is woefully underfunded, $21 billion behind, putting taxpayers and/or retirees in grave jeopardy. In addition to the financial problem is a serious lack of accountability.
State Treasurer Walker Stapleton sits on the board of the Public Employees Retirement Association (PERA). But when he asked for some basic information about benefits, the board refused. Stapleton complains that “it seems their objective is for all board members to operate in the dark and act as a rubberstamp for their executives.” He’s filed a lawsuit seeking the information.
Luckily, Colorado citizens have access to the initiative petition process. Recently, Carol Baum and Karen Stauffer filed initiatives to reform PERA, including requiring greater transparency. Last Friday, they attended the first hearings to finalize their measures.
That’s when the threatening phone calls began. And then on Sunday, Karen Stauffer’s car window was smashed out by a large rock.
Something is rotten in Denver. Tyranny is wielding its most powerful weapons: fear and intimidation. The only antidote is courage.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.