Near as I can figure, Ken Buck must be suffering from a virulent strain of boot-in-mouth disease. That can be the only explanation for his ongoing gaffes. Well, not the only one — Buck could have chosen, despite his advanced degrees, a dunce lifestyle despite the shame, ostracizing and moral reprobation it elicits
In my May 6, 2009, column, I praised Buck for following through on the prosecution of Allen Andrade for the murder of transgender Angie Zapata by referencing comments he had made in what I described as a “common sense, dispassionate” column in the Denver Post. Buck admitted to having been “skeptical about the use of the bias-motivated crimes statute” but was “persuaded that these crimes are unique.”
“Bias-motivated crimes are particularly heinous,” Buck wrote, “because they target an entire community of people, not just the actual victim.”
That was a huge leap, a moment of enlightenment, or so I thought, implying that he, while remaining a staunch conservative, was not ideologically enslaved to superstition, bigotry and ignorance. Seemingly, Buck had moved beyond voodoo, vampires and trial by ordeal, and, therefore, understood sexual orientation is not a choice.
On Meet the Press, Buck not only dispelled that impression, he also kept digging the hole deeper by comparing being gay to alcoholism, which causes me to wonder if holding such a position is a sign of a genetic disorder, perhaps a recessed gene traceable to one’s ancestor ingesting fermented grain. Either that or he’s a slave to a theocratic belief structure, which is fine if one hopes to be, say, the archbishop of Denver. But if one hopes to represent one of the most educated states in the U.S. Senate, he/she should’ve dismissed intellectually indefensible perspectives from his/her world view long ago.
While friends and readers might find it surprising, I had hope for Buck. What is being labeled “buckpedaling” is not necessarily contradictory or weak. It could show the politician has reconsidered old positions in light of new evidence (or polling) or it could mean he/she is following the tried-and-true path to victory by appealing (or pandering) to his/her base in the primary and then scooting to the center for the general election.
Since victory comes with support from the middle, reality dampens extremism especially in states and districts that are toss-ups like Colorado and Colorado’s CD 7.
Despite the need to heed Henry David Thoreau’s admonition to “simplify, simplify,” life in our ever-increasingly complex world, from technology to social structures, can no longer be reduced to and seen in context of simplistic nostrums based on fear of the unknown.
As nationally syndicated columnist Maureen Dowd explains, ignorance might be chic for new-age conservative feminists — I know, a contradiction in terms — but, nonetheless, it is also an indicator of intellectual turpitude. Believing being gay is a matter of choice is equivalent to believing the First Amendment does not separate church and state (Christie O’Donnell) or confusing West Virginia with Pennsylvania (Sarah Palin).
Despite Colorado not having a republican form of government but, instead, being a popular democracy in which the people effectively rule through plebiscite (TABOR), it’s important to elect leaders capable of higher-level thinking, given the complexity of the issues on which they need to act.
Shortly before Buck’s birth, Benjamin Bloom published his taxonomy that describes how the evaluation of an idea should occur only after a rigorous thought process, beginning with acquisition and comprehension of essential information and proceeding through analysis and synthesis, has been followed. On that, Buck consistently earns a D-.
I am challenged to recall another Colorado senatorial race in which neither candidate inspired confidence, so coming to support Michael Bennet for U.S. Senate was an ordeal. His appointment to the Senate by Gov. Ritter was both inexplicable and undeserved. His first step up the ladder of success in Colorado was to make obscenely rich Philip Anschutz even wealthier.
His reputation of turning around Denver Public Schools is based upon myth and his Rolodex contacts from where he has gotten much of his support is alarming, another indicator of the buying of the republic by the mega-bucks elite. One of his assets, though, is that he demonstrates critical thinking, albeit calculating at times.
The choice between Buck and Bennet is not one of between two evil men, but between two individuals who approach life from diametrically opposed perspectives, a consequence of one — Bennet — being able to progress upward through Bloom’s cognitive process and the other — Buck — struggling with its base tier, that of knowledge.
Jerry Fabyanic is a Georgetown resident and regular columnist for the Clear Creek Courant. He also hosts Western Exposure on KGOAT radio 102.7 FM alternate Saturdays at 3 p.m. Respond to his comments by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.