Why the Colorado recalls succeeded

How the West was won back by the people Photo: Recall Morse committee / ACMaurer

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., September 11, 2013—The media mostly got the recall elections in Colorado wrong. They said it was about guns; it was not.  They said it was started by the NRA; it was not. In fact, it was started by three ordinary people in Colorado Springs and three friends in Pueblo.

Got Remorse?

Rob Harris, the leader of the effort, has never been involved in politics before. What got him off have couch was Morse’s dismissive attitude toward his constituents. When Harris complained to his mother, she suggested he do something about it. He did.

At the same time—and independently at first—two other people reached the same conclusion.

Miriamber Daigneault was one of them. She described an experience remarkably like Harris’s. In her case it was her father who challenged her to do something if she felt so strongly about what was happening in Denver. Daigneault is a nurse who works with newborns. She works a night shift. During the campaign she would get off shift in the morning and work petitions. She has three children of her own.

The third person was Tim Knight. Knight said that the recall was not about guns—it was about John Morse not listening to his constituents. The anti-gun bills were just the last straw. Knight said that for him the issue of being ignored was brought home in March when Morse engineered the testimony on the bills so that opponents were almost completely silenced.

Like Harris and Daigneault, he had never before done anything political.

Refusal to listen to his constituents is par for the course for Morse, who described on national television how he counseled fellow senators to ignore their constituents’ emails and calls and vote for the gun control bills. Morse actually believes he is smarter and knows better than his constituents.

“We want a representative, not a ruler,” Harris said. “Morse has tried to be a ruler and we’re firing him.”

An unrepentant Morse said again in his concession speech last night that sometimes an elected official must make decisions that are unpopular with his constituents and if that costs him his political career, so be it.

Morse is wrong. Edmund Burke, the great British conservative legislator and friend of the American Revolution, did indeed believe in voting one’s conscience. But the crucial difference is that in Burke’s frame of reference, the voters first selected a man—women neither voted nor served as legislators in Burke’s day—who shared the people’s values and beliefs and was a person of integrity. Absent direct instructions from the people, Burke’s legislator could be counted on to vote his conscience in the best interests of the people.

John Morse, like much of the self-appointed political elite today, does not share the values and beliefs of the people. His dancing to the tune of Michael Bloomberg shows his lack of integrity as a legislator.

Pueblo Freedom and Rights

The Pueblo Freedom and Rights organization was headed by brothers Victor and Adam Head and their friend Ernest Mascarenas. The plumbers were joined by carpenters, veterans and other salt-of –the-earth types.

Victor said that he started the recall effort after Giron completely ignored her constituents and voted for every gun control bill. According to Head, this was not a partisan issue—this was an issue of people’s rights and a representative who doesn’t listen to the people.

After refusing to take questions about the gun control bills at two town hall meetings, Giron finally agreed to hold a third at the Rawlins Library in Pueblo. More than a thousand people showed up, all but a dozen opposed to the gun bills. People present say the room was at capacity, the library itself was at capacity and there were more people waiting outside.

In local media, Giron said that she knew she was voting against the will of her constituents but, like John Morse, she decided to vote for the bills anyway.

Success breeds success

Once the petitions were turned in, people began to take notice. Outside organizations did join the fight, as did candidate committees for Bernie Herpin and George Rivera.

Four very special volunteers came from Ohio, led by Sean Maloney, owner of Buckeye Firearms. After reading about the recalls they flew to Colorado at their own expense. With Maloney were Ken Hanson, Linda Walker and Zach Biscoe.

Maloney said that his support for Second Amendment rights resulted in his store’s website being taken down by denial of service attacks. The server was shared by two hospitals; their sites went down, too.

Hanson is an attorney who wrote amicus briefs in both the Heller and MacDonald Supreme Court cases. Walker is an employee of Buckeye Firearms. Biscoe took a year off from Miami University to help out. After being at university, he said being around conservatives instead of the liberals on campus is like night and day.

“There’s no hate,” he said. “Working with conservatives is refreshing.”

It isn’t over till it’s over—but it’s never over

Unseating two state senators in first-ever recall elections is historic, but it is only a beginning. We have not seen the last of John Morse. Democrat Betsy Markey, swept into Congress on the Obama tide in 2008 and out in the Tea Party Revolution of 2010, landed a plum position in the Department of Homeland Security. We can expect something like that for Morse and perhaps for Giron as well.

These citizen activists and the many others they recruited to their cause have accomplished the seemingly impossible. They had little money. They were outspent. The political class of both parties was largely against them.

Yet they exhibited honesty, integrity, courage, and a love of country that can never be defeated. They proved to us all that government for the people must be of the people and by the people. Elected officials work for us, not we for them.

As Tim Knight said in his election night remarks, “We must stop looking for a leader; we must become leaders.”

READ MORE from Al Maurer at Red Pill, Blue Pill


At The Voice of Liberty, we seek to advance the principles of liberty, because tyranny never sleeps.


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Al Maurer

Al Maurer is a political scientist and founder of The Voice of Liberty. He writes on topics of limited government and individual rights.

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