Editorial: Hoping for jobs and refusing to be silent | PostIndependent.com
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Editorial: Hoping for jobs and refusing to be silent

We hope that we are wrong about the Trump administration and that the United States thrives in the coming years. In campaigning, Donald Trump promised jobs for the distressed American middle class, and above all else, we hope that his administration and the Republican Congress deliver.

Perhaps the best and easiest way to do that is to approve desperately needed infrastructure investment. We hope that happens, and in a way that provides true public good rather than establishing a cash flow for contractors by creating perpetual tolls.

We are not alone in being deeply skeptical of the true concern and empathy for ordinary Americans from an administration whose Cabinet appointees are the richest in history and who, in many instances, have a track record of hostility toward the government functions they will oversee.



This is an administration whose president lost the popular vote by the widest margin in American history by far and whose approval rating is well below that of recent incoming presidents.

About 27 percent of the electorate put Trump in office. That means not only that most of the people who voted for president did not vote for him, but that many Americans — and residents of Garfield County, where Trump topped Hillary Clinton 13,132 to 11,271 — have significant concerns about policy and direction.



To even point this out is to invite the wrath of Trump supporters, whose online vitriol can give pause about expressing concern or criticism.

That’s fine. It would be wrong and, frankly, not patriotic for the Post Independent or any media organization to be cowed into silence on issues that we consider of critical importance to our communities and the nation. (At the same time, we condemn rioting on inauguration day. Americans should express themselves within the law.)

To be absolutely explicit, we do not question the validity of Trump’s election. It’s how our system is set up and, as we have said, criticism of the Electoral College is pointless and quixotic. We also could not be more sincere in hoping for rising fortunes for working-class families.

So, speaking of the working class, we are steadfast in our support for our immigrant neighbors, most of whom are in the country legally and even more of whom work hard, are critical to our economy and, like most of us, strive to make life better for their families.

Our solidarity and support are particularly strong for people who have grown up as Americans but were brought into the country illegally as children — the so-called Dreamers granted temporary legal status under an executive order from former President Barack Obama.

Consider the story of Glenwood Springs High School grad Marissa Molina who, when she started school in Glenwood at age 9 knew only one sentence in English: “I don’t speak English.”

She was 2010’s Miss Strawberry Days, went on to graduate from Fort Lewis College, spent two school years in the Teach for America program in Denver and was one of nine teachers covered by Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals to be honored at the White House in 2015.

We cannot conceive of why this country would not want to keep Molina and those like her here and create for her a path to citizenship.

It is unclear what the Trump administration will do regarding the Dreamers and other immigrants, but if campaign promises are kept, they are in peril.

We will advocate for them and in our reporting will seek to monitor deportation efforts and will watch for discrimination in our communities.

Part of our support for middle-class jobs means being happy for energy workers who might regain employment under Trump administration policies. We consider natural gas an important fuel to help in a transition to clean energy, and we understand its importance to families and the region’s economy.

At the same time, we believe that fossil fuels must be extracted with the greatest care for the environment, which responsible companies can do. We also don’t believe that a more aggressive fossil fuel policy promised under the Trump administration means that drilling should occur everywhere — we oppose drilling in the Thompson Divide and close to homes, such as in Battlement Mesa.

During the reign of an administration that opposes regulation and named a climate change denier who has sued the Environmental Protection Agency several times to lead that very agency, we promise to step up our scrutiny of gas field spills and other accidents in hopes of helping keep workers and neighbors safe.

We also worry about our public schools, the greatest catalyst for upward mobility and socialization ever created. Our public schools are incubators of hope, and we fear that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, a billionaire advocate for shifting tax money so wealthy families can send their children to private, for-profit schools, will weaken our ability to foster the American dream for the masses.

We will speak up against ideologically driven efforts to turn over federal lands to states or private interests, or to recriminalize marijuana use in Colorado.

These are among our top local concerns as the United States launches into a period with no real checks and balances in federal government with a servile Congress rubber stamping policies empowered by a minority of voters.

We have hope for the essential goodness of U.S. citizens and our neighbors, in the strength of our republic and the resilience of our economy.

We will not hesitate to speak up when we see threats to these exceptional American qualities.


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