John Hazlehurst

John Hazlehurst

By the time this column appears in print, we’ll be five days from Joe Biden’s inauguration — unless swarms of right-wing anarchists have seized the U.S. Capitol, imprisoned every Democrat in sight and declared Donald Trump the Supreme Ruler of all lands, rivers, lakes and oceans from Panama to the North Pole.

That’d certainly be an interesting development, but I expect that we’ll lurch clumsily ahead toward the future. Whether impeached, censured or somewhat silenced, Don will always be around. He’ll retain millions of devoted followers, whose meager wallets he can tap in various ways. His best and easiest bet might be via a subscription emailed newsletter (imagine Substack on steroids) priced at five or ten bucks a month. He could get 5 million subscribers without breaking a sweat — do the arithmetic! If Dems actually manage to impeach and convict him, they’ll cut off his $200K annual pension and other ex-president bennies and make him ineligible to run for office... big deal. DJT will come out just fine.

The default anti-impeachment argument among Repubs and their enablers is that the process would further divide the country and delay the “healing” that must take place. That seems to make sense, unless you take into account the permanent and apparently unfixable sources of division in our ancient Republic.

Let’s start with the United States Senate. Each state has two senators, regardless of population. With 39.4 million inhabitants, California is the biggest loser; with 590,000, Wyoming is the biggest winner. New York and Texas are also losers, while Vermont, North Dakota, Alaska and South Dakota are big winners. Cold, empty and rural states tend to elect Republicans. The result: In our evenly divided Senate, Democrats represent 41 million more folks than Republicans. 

And then there’s the Electoral College, which has twice in this century awarded the presidency to the loser of the popular vote.

So how can we create a more just, equitable and fair Republic? We can’t. Small states essentially have veto power over their bigger counterparts, and they correctly assume that giving up that power would cost ’em a bundle.

So that’s the status quo — divided we stand, if somewhat shakily. We can’t do anything about it, so let’s pay attention to our own city and state.

Don’t know whether you’ve paid attention to ReToolCOS, the city’s complex action plan to revise, remake, and reimagine city development codes and procedures. The process has been quietly underway for a year, and may finally be approved by this spring. Much of it will have been presented to Council during the pandemic. Last Tuesday, Council considered modifications to ordinances regarding drainage and erosion control. 

It appears that the residential rezoning that’s at the heart of ReToolCOS will be considered by a council that will have at least three and up to six newly elected officials. 

Given that the new council will take some time to get up to speed, shouldn’t presentation of these changes be delayed for a few months, or until the pandemic has diminished enough to permit actual meetings? The city’s been around for 150 years, so what’s the hurry.

And what are we going to do about Lauren Boebert and Doug Lamborn, Colorado’s most prominent election deniers? Boebert is just a comedy act, a poor player that struts and frets during her time on the stage. But Lamborn? He shouldn’t have panicked about being outflanked on the right. The world may have changed, and the city’s changing dynamics might make him vulnerable to a challenge from the moderate center. Dems may persist in their lonely dreams of winning the fifth Congressional District, but Republicans need to solve Republican problems. Our city needs effective representation and generational change, not an aging Trumpster. Imagine someone as dynamic and appealing as Boebert, but as smart and practical as Diana DeGette. 

In any case, it looks like an interesting year. My fondest hope for 2021 has nothing to do with politics — I only want the pandemic gone and nights out with our pals at all of our favorite Westside bars and restaurants. To all of our cronies — we’re ready to party!

John Hazlehurst, whose great-grandfather came to Colorado in 1859, is a Colorado Springs native. He has worked as a reporter/columnist for the Indy since 1997 and the Business Journal since 2006.