Half the country woke up this morning despondent, demoralized and in utter dread of what a Trump presidency will mean to this country. We’ve never had a president before who confessed on video to sexually assaulting women and who is endorsed by the Ku Klux Klan. We’re about to find out what that’s like, but everyone — including conservatives — might end up being surprised by what Trump will actually do while he’s in office, since he earned a 76 to a 91% lie rate for everything he said while on the campaign trail. The New York Times even dubbed him “Lord of the Lies.” If it was the right wing’s goal to throw a molotov cocktail into the government of the country they supposedly love so much, then they succeeded.
Adding to the misery, here in Mesa County, voters re-elected the two Old Guard Establishment Republican (OGRE) county commissioners who have helped plunge our area into some of the most desperate times in recent memory — multiple children getting killed at the hands of the Mesa County Social Services, a high jobless rate, a suicide rate that’s far above the national average, county employees who feel treated as though they are “disposable,” and other travails.
But Here’s the Good News
In spite of the crazy presidential and local politics, there was plenty of good news that came out of this election, and it helps to talk about it:
- The Town of Palisade approved retail marijuana cultivation and sales, and cannabis manufacturing and testing facilities within their boundaries, as well as a tax on the sale of marijuana products. That could bring a substantial number of jobs and significant additional revenue to the town. Palisade is now the first municipality in the Grand Valley to take advantage of Colorado’s booming new marijuana economy. Smart town. Perhaps some of their prosperity will rub off on the rest of the unincorporated county.
- Michael Bennet won easy re-election, and the state overall went for Hillary Clinton in the presidential race, meaning most people in Colorado got the big picture about Trump and are probably pretty well educated and sane.
- Proposition 106, the Medical Aid in Dying act, passed by a wide margin, effectively telling religious people that they need to stay out of other people’s business. People with terminal diseases will now be allowed to minimize suffering at the end of their lives and choose to have a peaceful, relatively painless death if they desire. The religious people who opposed Proposition 106 won’t have to use the law, and can still suffer as much as they like at the end of their own lives, so everyone won here.
- Amendment 70, which will raise the minimum wage to $12.00/hour by 2020, passed state-wide and at long last will lift up low wage workers here in Mesa County, despite the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce‘s longstanding efforts to preserve low wages on the western slope.
In other areas of the country, there was a glimmer of good news, too:
- Crazy Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona, lost his bid for re-election.
- Marijuana prohibition is continuing to wind down in the U.S. as California, Massachusetts, Maine and Nevada approved legalization of recreational marijuana. Florida, Arkansas, Montana and North Dakota all voted to approve medical marijuana. It was the closets thing we’ve had to a referendum on the failed strategy of marijuana criminalization so far.
- California approved strict gun control measures, outlawing possession of large-capacity ammunition magazines, and passing a measure to require permits to buy ammunition. They passed yet another measure that extends a California program that lets authorities seize firearms from owners who bought guns legally but are no longer allowed to own them. Washington state passed a measure that will allow judges to order the seizure of guns from people who are deemed a threat.
So the news isn’t all bad. In hard times like these, we need to take a break and focus on the good that has been achieved at the state and local levels, and start thinking about how we can build on those successes to make a better future for Mesa County.