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August 12, 2020 07:33 AM UTC

The "Phony" War On Rural Colorado Is Still Not Real

  • by: ElliotFladen

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg (R).

Senator Sonnenberg, President Pro Tempore of the Colorado Senate, has a new piece up in Colorado Politics decrying Governor Polis’s appointment of Ellen Kessler to the State Board of Veterinary Medicine.  The basis of his complaint: Ellen Kessler posted on her social media that “4-H clubs teach children that animal lives don’t matter.”

I have had more arguments than Jerry Sonnenberg has had with Ellen Kessler. I don’t agree with her on a bunch of stuff. But guess what: I don’t engage in hyperbole by claiming Jared Polis declared war in Colorado simply by appointing her to an administration position when she has merely said some disagreeable things.

If that were the standard for “war”, then anytime any democrat or republican office holder appointed/hired any person who had any disagreeable opinion on any topic – without actually having the ability or power to effectuate that opinion – that would be war. So Sonnenberg hires somebody who said in the past that marriage should be between a man and a woman or simply says they like Chick-Fil-A. War declared against anybody who is gay. Or Sonnenberg hires somebody who says they believe IVF is morally wrong for parents wanting a biological baby but unable to conceive because it violates the Personhood dogma? War declared against infertile parents. Or Sonnenberg hires somebody who believes that there is a second amendment right to have a functioning hydrogen bomb? War declared. Even if none of those people have not even a smidgen of power to effectuate any of those opinions in the post they are hired to.

Moreover, Sonnenberg needs to come to terms with the fact that more and more Coloradans are into considering the possibility of animal rights or even vegetarian/vegan food option while having a steak for dinner. I eat a shit ton of meat/dairy. That isn’t going to change. I also like eating and cooking vegan food. Partly as a change of pace, partly because my daughter has food allergies, and partly because I have religious family who can’t always eat meat due to concerns of it being kosher or because of a religious holiday. Guess what: Jews, Muslims, and Catholics all have that issue from time to time. It isn’t “war” on ranchers to give religious people more culinary options or to ensure the animal rights community has a voice, though Sonnenberg suggested the former in the past.

Ultimately, this is exactly the sort of hyperbole that is driving our country apart. I had worked with Sonnenberg on some stuff years ago. I believe that he is better than this hyperbole. Let’s hope he proves me right.


14 thoughts on “The “Phony” War On Rural Colorado Is Still Not Real

  1. Well put, Elliot. Sonnenberg’s attempt to create a sense of victimization by crying that Polis “declared war” via appointment is an example of the kind of rhetoric that has led to our present polarized politics. 

    As far as the substance, it’s fine for one board member to have a divergent opinion about 4H clubs. I’d disagree; when I worked in a rural high school for four years, I saw 4H students exploring all kinds of issues, including animal rights, humane animal raising, organic farming, etc. It really depends on the students, their adviser, and their community what curriculum and topics and projects they take on. At my school, the Ag program had a really strong debate and speech component, which demanded rigorous research and speaking prep. That was also sponsored by FFA (Future Farmers of America) and 4H. 
    They absolutely examined both sides of issues and used scientific evidence to back claims. 
    Sonnenberg should trust kids and teachers more, and stop hyperventilating about one board member.

    1. Great piece Elliot.

      Jerry puts this drivel in my local paper on a regular basis.  At some point the party decided their winning course of action would be division, an ‘Us v. Them’.  It’s disturbing but I’d lay odds this is all about setting him up for CD-4 when that opening happens.  He’ll own the news cycle in yonderlands and get the red hats cheering him on. 

  2. Nicely done, Elliot. My brother and I were both in 4H as schoolkids. The insinuation that it teaches cruelty is not true.

    Let me put it this way.

    Give me a farm kid who raises and shows animals over a city kid who keeps a pet, any day.

    Which animal will likely be better cared for…and not neglected? People who express "love" for an animal and then allow it to go hungry or suffer from loneliness, are particularly cruel. 4H kids take care of their animals because they are taught to do so. The love comes naturally…all by itself.


    1. I raised 4-H calves and by the time I graduated from high school had $1,200 in the bank in profits.  In 1963, that paid for four years tuition at CU.

      1. 4-H and FFA here.  Earned my state farmer degree with a 50-sow farrow-to-finish operation that put me through school.  Great programs.  FFA has evolved a lot since those days with it's largest growth today coming from urban areas where kids are keenly interested in ag technology and growing food in their neighborhoods. 

  3. I sat in on part of the Colo. Parks & Wildlife Commission meeting last month. One of the commissioners made an interesting comment during one of the discussions. The comments centered on that, nationally, there likely are far more vegans and vegetarians than there are hunters and anglers. 

    A large portion of the money that goes into habitat protection comes from those "consumptive users." As the number of persons who hunt and fish slowly declines, who will step up to fill the gaps in protection of wildlife habitat? Does Jerry Sonnenberg have an answer?

  4. I need help with Sonnenberg having a problem with an "acting" board member. If it's good enough for Washington, it's good enough for Colorado. And why does he object to a vet who cares about the health of critters for their own sake? Should she only want to keep them healthy enough for someone's dinner table? I'm wondering since I'm sure many of them find their way to mine. 

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