Oh, please. Spare me — and the rest of the city — from Zooming in on another episode of Aurora City Council members and the clutching of the pearls.
The usual Monday Night at the Fights among Aurora City Council members turned unusually harsh this week, even by Aurora City Council standards, when Councilman Juan Marcano launched the “SDC” bomb.
That’s right, live on Zoom and Aurora’s Channel 8, in front of God and everybody, Marcano went there and said Republicans are part of a “sadistic death cult.”
As the deeply offended Republican members of city council pointed out, it was Marcano’s second SDC grenade launch. He previously had tweeted something similar.
“And Councilperson Alison Coombs ‘liked it,’” one horrified and disparaged city council member pointed out Monday from the virtual dais.
This week’s dramatic consternation came from a years-long effort to create some kind of formal city structure to look at global warming, environmental issues and energy regulations. As has been the case for the last few years, and especially the last few months, the city council is split among conservative Republicans, a libertarian swing Republican, liberal Democrats and a swing-right liberal.
Just the week before, Team Red on the city council excoriated Marcano for using a procedural loophole to plan a rescue for another measure shot down by Team Red. Councilmember Dave Gruber flung a handful of “disgusting behavior” at Marcano that night. Councilperson Francoise Bergan told Marcano he was “unethical.”
Just weeks before, both of those city lawmakers enjoyed rounds of rule manipulations in an effort to get a replacement candidate they wanted on the city council.
This is a city council so polarized, and so entrenched in their polarization, that they stayed up several times until the wee hours of the morning holding the same vote for a replacement council person, over, and over, and over, and over, rather than work to find a compromise and get on with it.
So it came as little surprise that after yet another episode of city council sneers, jeers and “I know you are but what am I,” Marcano totally went there.
“So I do believe in radical candor, and my intent is not to be a career politician,” Marcano said when GOP members of the city council confronted him about his incendiary tweet. “So if you take offense to me being very honest with people, and expressing to them what I see on the inside on the other side of this dais, coming from Republican elected officials, I’m sorry,” he said. “I think you might need to do some soul searching because I do believe, honest to God, that the Republican Party is a sadistic death cult. It is the most dangerous organization that has ever existed on this planet. You ignore science. You obstruct. You refuse to have conversations with people. This is something that I see at the local level all the way up to the halls of Congress.”
Well. “I nevuh,” was the quick response of a very indignant Team Red.
Really? Drop your pearls, folks. This kind of over-the-top, inflammatory, take-no-prisoners, ding, diss and damn is how this city council rolls.
Like Marcano points out, it’s a reflection of government all the way to the White House. You can’t go anywhere that fried ad hominem isn’t flung across the aisle, the dais or, these days, the Zoom room.
For months, I’ve watched members of Aurora’s Team Red snipe about Team Blue digging in the same as Team Red. There isn’t a meeting that goes by that some Republican doesn’t find a reason to lob a sneer and accusations of “socialist” at Marcano and others, intimating that Marcano is infected with and trying to spread some kind of socialist disease.
I’ve been watching governments for a living for way longer than most people would think is reasonably safe or advisable, and I have never seen a group of people willing and able to effuse each other with raw animosity, every time they meet.
Of course calling his Republican colleagues minions of a “sadistic death cult” was unwise and uncalled for.
Gardner, in a letter to the editor to The Sentinel after the fact, rightly pointed out that such hyperbole diminishes victims of people where sadistic death cult rulers prevail.
Is the GOP currently rife with extremists pulling and pushing that party over the edge of reason? Oh, hell yes.
In Colorado, especially across the South, and all over Congress, the nutty Lauren Boeberts of the Republican Nation have stolen the stage — much to the chagrin of Republicans, even like Sen. Liz Cheney.
But the GOP is not a sadistic death cult, and throwing flaming death-cult cocktails won’t win the day.
I once had a wise mentor help me understand human relations and motivation. The lesson came while I was explaining to him how frustrated I was by workers I was responsible for. My consternation came from their not correctly responding to some elaborate plan I concocted to get them to do what I wanted them to do.
“How’s that working for you?” he asked.
I got it.
There’s no doubt that both Team Red and Team Blue hope that the upcoming election, less than a month away, will bring a winning vote to their side so they can steamroll their agendas and smirk into the rear-view mirror. And there’s a very real chance that the next election will bring nothing but more of the same gridlock.
Since no one on the city council can or even wants to break the same mood that’s brought Congress to a halt, they need to hire somebody, a mediator.
Aurora is facing the biggest crises since it became a city, including widespread homelessness, police reform, water preservation and a current crime wave that threatens all of us.
We can’t wait another two years for progress on these fronts if the election produces just more of the same on the dais.
Progress has a name in Aurora. It’s compromise.
Follow @EditorDavePerry on Twitter and Facebook or reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected]