The first time I was told to “go back” to my “own country” was the weekend after 9/11.I had headed up to Tahoe with family to find a quiet place to process what had happened. Like so many, we needed a chance to clear our heads of the repeated imagery of our own countrymen leaping in desperation from burning towers.As we walked alongside the road one afternoon, a white truck slowed and crossed into the opposing lane toward us. I thought for a moment the driver might ask for directions. Then he yelled out the window and hit the gas.Go back to your own country. Another time, I was on my way to a meeting, walking down a San Francisco street with my boss and coworker. A man on the sidewalk shook a plastic cup and asked for money. I apologized for not having any change and got two steps away before hearing that familiar, humiliating, heart-thumping growl behind me.Go back to your own country.My first reaction in instances like these is to protect myself and move away … [Read more...] about Guest column: Is this my country, too?
Hello Colorado, I am your wayward son. Duty to our country has taken me far from home, and now I scarcely recognize the state you have become. Someday I hope to return to you; but when that day comes your native son shall not return as a prodigal. For you, Colorado, not I, are the one whose strayed from what is right. You’ve broken your oath in pursuit of ill-gotten gain and forgotten your place among the states.Of your broken oath, let us look at what you have sworn to uphold. Under Article XII, Section 8 of the Colorado Constitution, you who serve the State of Colorado swore an oath of office, similar if not identical to this:“I solemnly (swear) (affirm)that I will uphold the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Colorado, and I will faithfully perform the duties of the position upon which I am about to enter.”What is true of that oath is this: be it taken for an entry-level civil servant, a faculty member or regent of a state-funded … [Read more...] about GUEST COLUMN: State of Colorado has lost its way
Colorado has created a fiscal cliff; the state is woefully unprepared for the revenue shortfall that will accompany the next recession. Citizens might be surprised to learn that the state has been pursuing imprudent policies that will result in a fiscal crisis when the next recession hits. It is important to understand how the fiscal cliff was created and what we can do about it.Over the past two decades, Colorado has weakened the fiscal constraints imposed by the Colorado Taxpayer Bill of Rights. TABOR limits the rate of growth in state spending to the sum of inflation plus population growth, regardless of the amount of revenue the state takes in.But most state revenue is exempt from the TABOR limit. The exempt funds include the revenue from enterprises and the fees collected by government agencies, which have grown rapidly over this period. As a result, over the past decade TABOR has not constrained the growth in spending, and this year the state will spend virtually every dollar of … [Read more...] about GUEST COLUMN: State could go off a fiscal cliff
Empowered by their recent sweep of the state Legislature and governor’s mansion, Colorado Democrats are showing their true stripes.Based on their recent legislative actions, it’s clear the state’s Democratic leadership is either beholden to out-of-state political interests or that it’s composed of overbearing paternalists who believe they know better than the Coloradans who elected them.For example, consider the far-reaching energy bill Democrats recently snuck through the state’s Senate, Senate Bill 181. The bill would, among other things, remove the existing caps on drilling permit application fees; require companies to provide drilling permitting information to any town claiming to be “affected” by the siting of the drilling location, a provision that would allow town governments to obtain this important information even if the operation isn’t within its town borders; and allows localities that object to oil and gas production to ask … [Read more...] about GUEST COLUMN: Coloradans’ votes don’t matter to state’s Democratic leaders
For 26 years, the U.S. Air Force Academy’s National Character and Leadership Symposium (NCLS) has been challenging and inspiring audiences from around the world. Whether speakers are experienced live or online, we strive to provide challenging content to advance some of the most important discussions of our time.To achieve the full potential of what an event like NCLS can and should be, we deliberately invite speakers and offer topics that some may consider controversial. For example, during last year’s event, we offered a panel on serving while transgender in the military. This event was predictably vilified and praised, depending on an individual’s pre-established perspective on the topic. While acknowledging the discomfort of the topic to some, we felt tremendous pride in presenting a topic our cadets must approach with a sophisticated level of appreciation. We have consistently hosted speakers who are far left and far right on a variety of issues in order to … [Read more...] about GUEST COLUMN: Powerful experience for character and leadership development