Monday, January 9, 2012


On January 4, 2012, The Denver Post published a story by Lynn Bartels that celebrates the creation of a Colorado Black Caucus:

More than 225 people are expected to attend a reception Thursday night to celebrate the launch of an organization of black elected officials.

The Colorado Black Caucus includes Denver's mayor, city council members, school board members, lawmakers and others from around the state.

The group was founded by state Rep. Angela Williams, D-Denver, who serves as its chair.

"All people should have an equal voice at the table," she said. "Our issues are not separate from mainstream Colorado. To the contrary, they are the same."

The event will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science.

Guests who have said they will attend include Trey Rogers, legal counsel for former Gov. Bill Ritter, and House Minority Leader Mark Ferrandino, D-Denver.

The most high-profile member of the caucus is Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, the city's second black mayor although African-Americans comprise only 10 percent of its population.

"This caucus presents a great opportunity for African-American leaders throughout the city and state to come together to bolster collaboration," said Hancock, who took office in July.

"I applaud this new group as well for its commitment to increasing civic engagement from within the African-American community…"

The group’s founder, Colorado State Representative Angela Williams, emphasized that “All people should have an equal voice at the table.” The implication is that members of the Caucus do not have an equal voice. To solve this problem, Representative Williams believes Colorado needs a Democratic Party political group based on race.


The Denver Post seems to celebrate the decision, but there is a cynical artificiality to the story. Do the editors actually believe there is nothing divisive in a Democratic Party political group being formed to accentuate the perception that Colorado Republicans are racists? Is the formation of such a group a reason to celebrate?

Here’s some perspective:

Colorado wasn’t even a state when the American Civil War was being fought. The Democratic Party had an active KKK organization in Colorado in the 1920s, but it was focused on anti-Catholic initiatives. Colorado has had no trappings of the 1960’s segregationist movement promoted by George Wallace, Orval Faubus and other Democratic Party leaders. In 2008, Colorado voters endorsed Barack Obama by 54% to 45% over Republican John McCain. Colorado’s largest city has an African-American mayor.

But still it is imperative that the Democratic Party accentuate its theme: Republicans are racists.

If you ask members of the Colorado Black Caucus if they believe Colorado Republicans are racists, most will demur. You see, it’s not that they believe a particular Republican is a racist; it’s just that Democrats happen to be attracted to organizations that consider Republicans racists. It is their touchstone.

Do we need more of that in Colorado? It is certainly upsetting and alienating to Republicans, yet we’ve got politicians like Mark Udall, drawn to one of the most objectionable tenets of the Democratic Party, still promoting intermingled seating in the U.S. Senate. He believes simple propinquity will bring Republicans around to his world view. He can sit with them, but he still knows they are racists. What a guy!

We will have to watch the members of the Colorado Black Caucus as they celebrate Martin Luther King Day next week. The MLK holiday is sometimes used by Democratic Party activists to insinuate that Republicans incite racial killing. Will the members of the Caucus show restraint? What did they take away from the exploitation of Gabby Giffords?

Chief Justice John Roberts, a Republican on the Supreme Court of the United States, is famously quoted in Meredith v. Jefferson County Board of Education as saying, “The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.”

That makes sense, but the point is apparently lost on the Colorado Black Caucus.

UPDATE 1/10/2012:
The first anniverary of the shooting attack by Jared Loughner brings to mind this WSJ article by Glenn Reynolds. The accusation of racism might be losing some of its sting, but characterizing Republicans as "accomplices to murder" still packs a wallop.

UPDATE 1/14/2012:
This morning, The Denver Post quotes Senator Mark Udall at a Tucson service honoring the lives of those killed in the 2011 shooting. The idea is to use the event to reinforce the perception that Republicans are violent extremists, in their thoughts and in their words.

Senator Udall conveys a quiet sense of moral authority:

Although Gabby now struggles with her words at times, we know what she's trying to say. It's a simple concept. Words matter, and these days you don't hear our elected officials using words to bring us together. Too often words are used as weapons.

Senator Udall has a pious sense of triumphalism as he delivers his remarks, but there is no doubt who wears "the black hats." Republicans feel ambushed, with nobody riding to their defense. Non-Republicans relish a righteous sense of affirmation.

In the meantime, our culture says, "Mission accomplished!"

UPDATE 1/16/2012 (MLK Holiday):
The Blaze notes the use of the pulpit where Martin Luther King preached to attack Republicans. As Glenn Reynolds says, "Separation of church and state is for the little people."

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