We the people of Cortez need the help of our City Council, our elected representatives.
For months on end now, we have endured the unendurable “parade” of insurrectionists up and down Main Street and Montezuma Avenue in Cortez, speeding and running red lights, many of them recognizable as people who are not Cortez citizens trying to intimidate those of us who are. These are insurrectionists whose fellows attempted to overthrow our form of government by attacking our legally elected representatives in our national Capitol, destroying our federal property and threatening, assaulting and injuring individuals attempting to maintain order.
While the seditionists stormed our Capitol, the “paraders” here gathered in front of our courthouse in Cortez, milling around with all their flags, and to do what, exactly? Were they planning to overthrow our order here, part of the national online recruitment effort at sedition?
Basically, they are domestic terrorists too, because they have attacked Black Lives Matter demonstrators peacefully standing on the sidewalk and have flown treasonous Confederate battle flags along with their other seditious propaganda paraphernalia.
On that same day, they twisted into a pretzel the innocuous sign, “human.kind be both” I have posted in my own yard on Montezuma Avenue.
Our Cortez police have “both-sided” this situation, calling these domestic terrorists “protesters.” In fact, they claim themselves “freedom protestors” – by which I assume they mean freedom for themselves to do whatever they like and no freedom for me or you at all if we don’t agree with them – even though they are indistinguishable from the insurrectionists who attacked our Congress at the behest of our crazy president.
Cortez police say the insurrectionists are rightfully exercising their right to free speech. But we all know that we do not have the right to yell “Fire!” in a crowded theater; speech that endangers, threatens or harms others is not protected. And if behavior is speech (and the law says it is) intimidating behavior is unprotected speech.
As President-elect Biden said, “Enough is enough is enough!”
It’s time for Cortez to do something about this incredibly destructive element in our society. No more La Plata County Republicans and Montezuma County Republicans (their vehicles have signs that say this) in parades intimidating local residents. No more posturing and threatening others in public. Arrest their rears and hold them responsible for their illegal behavior (verbal threats constitute verbal assault). Intimidating behavior must no longer be condoned, protected, even nurtured by complicit officers and fearful officials, and seditious behavior must be punished, not condoned.
Councilors should not let the city attorney caution them against courage. Don’t let the both-siders misrepresent what is actually happening to us. Don’t issue permits for “protests” that consist of intimidation; don’t condone criminal behavior. Require the city police force to actually see how the seditionists are breaking local ordinances and state laws and take the appropriate actions in response.
We have observed local police at the meeting to start Saturday parades as part of the group, and having food with the group at J. Fargo’s after the parades. They appear to be great buddies and claim they see no violations of traffic ordinances. They are as complicit in the parading intimidation of local citizens as the Capital police were in allowing the seditionists into the Capitol and then taking selfies with them.
We have worked hard to elect responsible people to our City Council, and we expect you to lead the city in the right direction, not allow it to kowtow to people enjoying their “freedom” to intimidate and endanger others.
Our City Council needs to draw the line and at the very least pass a resolution condemning this intimidating behavior and in support of a peaceful national transition by prohibiting the Trumper intimidation.
Time to act, City Council. Time to take a stand.
Amanda McNeill is a Cortez resident and former Colorado state Senator (District 6).