Let’s get it out of the way: 2015 was a grim year. Want proof? Just look back through The Indy archives and check out the last 12 months of Mike Littwin’s columns.
Whether he was chronicling Freddie Gray’s Baltimore, or a string of mass shootings — one at a black church, another at a Planned Parenthood clinic — or the rise of anti-Islamic nationalism in the presidential race, or the fight over the Confederate flag, Mike brought a sense of humanity to the ceaseless violence and bigotry that defined much of 2015.
He also wrote about some good news — such as same-sex marriage finally becoming the law of the land — and some news-of-the-weird like the the soap opera that was the Colorado GOP last summer and the carnival that was Dr. Chaps.
We love Mike. We want him to write for us for a long, long time. We need your support to make that happen. So consider making a year-end, tax-deductible donation to our work at The Colorado Independent so we can keep bringing you the news and analysis that you depend on and so Mike can keep doing what he does best — making sense out of sometimes senseless world, national and state events.
Without further ado, may we give to you, as a token of our appreciation for reading, donating and sharing our work, The Best of Mike Littwin: The 2015 edition, in chronological order.
We wish you a happy end to a tragic, long and newsworthy year.
Jan. 8: Now that’s blasphemy
We can, and do, all agree that the murders in Paris were horrific. But we don’t have to agree on Charlie Hebdo.
In fact, if we did all agree on the French satirical weekly, those who died there — those who died for an idea that begins with the right to offend those who most insist on being offended – wouldn’t have done their job.
As you’ve no doubt heard, Colorado is last in the nation — dead last — when it comes to kindergartners being vaccinated against measles.
It’s not just embarrassing, it’s a scandal, particularly at this time when measles, once declared dead and gone in America, are suddenly back. The experts say Colorado is ripe for a Disneyland-like crisis. And so, as any good citizen might, I went to the state Capitol to see what our elected leaders had to say about it.
Mar. 27: Overripe Dr. Chaps implodes
Like many of you, I’m surprised it took nearly three months for Gordon “Dr. Chaps” Klingenschmitt to finally implode.
I’d have guessed six weeks — max.
The question of what happened to Freddie Gray will, with luck, eventually be answered in court. And although it’s a critically important question, it’s not the only one.
As a New York Times headline put it the other day, Sandtown — the impoverished section of Baltimore where Gray was born prematurely and where he suffered from lead poisoning as a child and where he grew up in and out of trouble and where he was arrested one April night and put into the van that sent him to his death — is home to “lots of Freddies.”
Before we dig too far into the details of the Colorado GOP’s dance with extortion and dysfunction, I think we can first all agree that Attorney General Cynthia Coffman has undoubtedly learned some valuable political lessons along the way. Unfortunately, we can also all agree that she learned them at the same time she was destroying her political career.
When the governor of South Carolina called for the Confederate battle flag to be removed from the State House grounds, it felt as if the world had stopped, if just for moment, to give itself time to adjust.
Yes, the moment was that big.
Aug. 18: Donald Trump’s immigration bomb
OK, I admit it it, I’m a silver-lining kind of guy. And so when I read Donald Trump’s round-up-the-illegals-and-ship-’em-out manifesto – a point-by-point policy paper to follow up on his illegal-immigrants-as-rapists commentary — I knew we were finally getting somewhere.
What it means is that the Donald, the leader in the GOP primary-polling clubhouse, is forcing Republicans to take a stand on what amounts to either immigration reform or low-grade insanity, or both. (Which do you think applies to Trump’s first principle: “A nation without borders is not a nation. There must be a wall on our southern border.” I kept looking for a nation without borders is still a nation without a wall on the northern border.)
What do you do if you see a neighbor walking down the street carrying a rifle, looking, well, distraught?
You don’t know his name, but you’ve seen him more than a few times and he looks somehow different. Plus, he’s carrying a rifle in broad daylight and you think you ought to report that to someone.
Once, not so long ago, it was great fun to mock the Donald. And it was so easy. He was the short-fingered vulgarian, as the late, great Spy Magazinehad dubbed him.
There was the fake sneer. The naked narcissism. The 18-karat, gold-plated seat belts in his helicopter.
And so it has come to this: Adams County state Rep. JoAnn Windholz has decided that Planned Parenthood is the “real culprit” in the Colorado Springs attack and not, apparently, the actual killer.
She not only said it, but happily she wrote it down for all to see. That means she can never say she was misquoted — just horribly misguided.