The election results show some important changes at the national, state and local levels. The Democrats have taken control of the U.S. House while the Republicans retain control of the U.S. Senate. This split in the control of Congress could mean that it will be more difficult for the Republicans to push President Donald Trump’s agenda.
The Democrats have retaken control of the Colorado Senate while retaining control of the Colorado House. This result could mean that Gov.-elect Jared Polis will have a better chance of enacting some of his agenda.
There were also a large number of issues on the Colorado, county and city ballots. Some key changes that were passed include: at the state level, changing the method of redistricting after the Census, and limiting interest rates on payday loans to 36 percent; in Boulder County, funding for an alternative jail sentencing facility; in Boulder, approval of online petitioning and electronic signing of petitions; in Longmont, approval of three separate bonds for infrastructure improvements; and in Erie, voters authorized municipal broadband. I think these are important positive changes.
Unfortunately, three critical issues — military spending, nuclear war and climate chaos — were seldom addressed during the Congressional campaigns. Military spending takes money from constructive use to destructive use in support of the U.S. empire and multinational banks and other corporations.
Either of these other two issues can powerfully affect the future of life on this planet. For example, a wide-scale nuclear war with Russia could quickly bring an end to life as we know it with lethal radiation. Those who survived the nuclear exchanges would quickly face widespread and long-lasting famine.
Regarding climate chaos, the oil and gas industry continues its insane behavior. For example, it invested lots of money in Colorado and defeated Amendment 112 that would have increased setbacks for oil and gas drilling. This behavior is unconscionable, especially given the latest news on climate chaos that we have less than 12 years to take drastic action to keep the rise in climate temperatures at 1.5 degrees Celsius (about 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit). Failure is not an option since the dramatic and disastrous results we are already observing will occur more frequently and will be even stronger. Failure threatens our future and that of coming generations.
Is this disastrous future what we want? If we want to see a more livable time ahead, voters and others will have to engage at an even greater level than we did during this election. The power of money must be defeated by the even greater power of the people. Otherwise, humanity will have wasted this wonderful planet Earth.
The Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center’s “Peace Train” runs every Friday in the Colorado Daily.