The First and Second Amendment are very good friends. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that they’re close, one always protecting the other, as we witnessed again last week in Colorado.
The national media dutifully reported that two gun-and-ammo grabbing Rocky Mountain State legislators were recalled from public office by the voters in their districts — the two being now former Senate President John Morse (D-Colorado Springs) and former Sen. Angela Giron (D-Pueblo). But don’t expect thoughtful analysis or introspection from the stridently anti-gun Fourth Estate.
Nightly, the TV talking-heads tell us to be afraid of the powerful National Rifle Association, which supposedly has such deep pockets that its propaganda can overwhelm simple-minded fly-over voters, destroying their ability to reason — that is, come to the same conclusions that the chattering class habitually does. But recall forces, with all their help from the NRA, were outspent better than five-to-one by billionaire New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, public employee unions and other gun control advocates defending Senators Morse and Giron.
Better to let the grassroots Davids explain their victory over the political Goliaths from Gotham and beyond.
“We beat the machine,” said an ecstatic Ron Harris of the pro-Morse recall group, Basic Freedom Defense Fund (BFDF), after the results came in. “‘We the People’ stood up against Morse, Bloomberg, Biden, Obama,” he added. “And we won.”
“Literally millions of dollars were spent to defeat or sabotage us,” explained Tim Knight of the Colorado Springs-based BFDF. Not only did the recall volunteers have to gather tens of thousands of voter signatures against harassment by recall opponents, they withstood well-financed legal challenges to their recall petition and then a massive disadvantage in funding for paid advertising and get-out-the-vote efforts.
Still, a smiling Jim Brown with Pueblo Freedom & Rights, the group working to recall Sen. Giron, told reporters on election night, “All the money in the world can’t buy an election.”
From a partisan standpoint, Sen. Morse was in a very competitive district, which he had last won quite narrowly, but Giron’s Pueblo-area turf is solidly Democrat. A review of turnout last week showed many more Democrats voted than did Republicans. Nonetheless, Giron lost by a solid 12 percentage points, 56-44.
“We beat a Democrat senator in a Democrat town by a wide margin,” Brown pointed out. “We sent a message here to every legislator: They better hear what we have to say, because they can be held accountable.”
Characteristically, national Democrats are refusing to listen to their VM (vote mail). DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz explained away the result as “voter suppression, pure and simple.” The recalled Giron picked up that mantra on CNN, babbling that, “The people who are in support of very common sense gun legislation weren’t able to get to the polls.”
The Washington Post editorialized against the very idea of voter recall: “States should examine their laws with an eye toward heightening the barriers to recalling politicians.”
So, the choice appears to be between ignoring the messenger or shooting the horse he rode in on.
Listening to the common sense citizens who brought us the only recall elections for state legislators in all of the Centennial State’s history, one discovers that the recalls were about more than just guns. The issue was ultimately about governance.
“The fuse that lit the powder keg,” according to BFDF’s Knight, was Sen. Morse “telling his party caucus he was proud of his fellow politicians for ignoring their constituents.”
“Enough,” declared El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa. “You’re elected to represent us, not to dictate to us.”
“We just stood up as regular citizens and said we’re not going to accept this,” Jim Brown offered. “We’re not going to accept our rights being stripped away.”
The fears of big media and big government that an uppity citizenry is on the rise are hopefully well founded. The success of the Colorado recalls not only bodes well for voters protecting their Second Amendment rights, it also illustrates what a powerful weapon we have in our First Amendment right to petition government — for recalling politicians or for reforming government through a ballot initiative.
“We’re plumbers, HVAC technicians, electricians, we’re all just regular working guys,” explained Victor Head of Pueblo Freedom & Rights, “We may have just thrown a huge bike wrench into the whole political system — definitely of this state, maybe even the nation.” Head added, “We’re thinking of kinda taking the plumber’s wrench as our new logo. Don’t mess with regular people or we will throw a big wrench into your well-thought-out plans.”
Martin Dietrich, a voter in the recall, summed up pretty well how this new world might work: “Represent the people or you’re out of here — you’re fired.”
Sounds like representative government. Very representative.
September 15, 2013
This column first appeared on Townhall.com.