January 27, 2023







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Hal Bidlack



I hope my regular readers will forgive me, but today I am writing this letter for an audience of one, our state’s great governor, Jared Polis. See, there have been several articles in the news lately that have given me an idea. So, I hope you will bear with me, dear readers, and I promise to write for you again later in the week.

Dear Governor Polis,

Hi! You remember me from 2008, when we both ran for the US Congress for the first time? I’m tall, red hair, short haircut? Remember me? You won your race, which was awesome, and it put you on the path to becoming our state’s super governor. I didn’t win (hell, I’m a Democrat running in Colorado Springs), but the election was a remarkable and transformative experience, even as a loser. Oh, and that cookie box you sent to my campaign was gmeal biscuits, and we devoured them immediately.

I’m writing today to offer a thought or two about a couple of issues facing the Centennial State. While overall things are pretty good here, especially compared to other parts of the nation, there are places where we could do better. Some breaking national news stories generated an “Ah-ha!” moment for me, and I would respectfully propose a possible solution, or at least a partial solution, to some of the problems we are facing.

That solution, my dear Governor, is… Florida!

As you and the rest of the nation know, in the last election, a guy named Ron DeSantis got re-elected to the governorship of this state while spreading some stupid and dangerous ideas. He was a trumper, now he’s not so much? It’s hard to say… but he really wants to be president.

Now that he and his far-right GOPers are in charge of Florida, they’re wasting no time implementing policies that sound reasonable to their far-right constituents but are actually quite dangerous.

But Florida’s stupidity can be Colorado’s gain!

As you know, Colorado, like most states, faces shortages of nurses and other medical personnel, as well as teachers of all grade levels. A study suggests that by 2026 our state will face a deficit of 10,000 nurses. And the challenges of being a teacher in a COVID or (hopefully) mostly post-COVID world caused nearly 20% of Colorado teachers to give up their careers in the last year.

So the solution? Like I said Florida!

This DeSantis guy and his ilk are driving draconian legislation through this state’s legislature that will dramatically transform the medical and teaching professions. It seems they all get upset about people who “woke up”. Now I spend quite a bit of time not sleeping, so I wasn’t quite sure what these right-wing zealots were talking about, so I headed to the best news source a moderate like me could think of: Fox News. In a story cleverly titled, “What does ‘woke’ mean?” the authors claim that waking up means being conscious and aware (so far, so good), and then they add that now it also means having one to agree to a progressive agenda. They later cite the Oxford Dictionary definition as follows: “originally: well-informed, up-to-date. Now principally: alert to racial or social discrimination and injustice.”

So I guess I’m pretty fine with being woken up and honestly I’d hate to think there are too many others NotGood, woke up. But in Florida, apparently, waking up is a terrible thing. In Florida last year, DeSantis signed a bill nicknamed “the anti-wake bill.” Apparently they don’t want actual history being taught in Florida when it comes to racial, gender and other social issues that affect Florida people every day.

Signing the bill into law, DeSantis stated, “In Florida, we will not allow the far left wake-up agenda to take over our schools and workplaces. There is no place for indoctrination or discrimination in Florida.” There is a certain irony in signing legislation aimed at indoctrinating students with a false and limited history, but I digress. Oh, and Florida just banned the introduction of an advanced-level (or AP) high school class focused on African-American history because, well, woke up.

So, Governor Polis, I bet there are many, many great teachers in Florida who are pretty sick of being told what sanitized version of history they can teach while at the same time walking that fine line to make sure they do Don’t say anything positive about gay people because Florida’s don’t say gay law is already in effect.

I would imagine quite a few of these teachers would be happy to relocate to Colorado, where knowing the full breadth of American history is not only okay, but encouraged. That could defuse the teacher crisis somewhat. Now we may have to invest in warm winter coats for some of the new employees, but it’s a small price to pay for putting our children’s education first.

Same, Governor, when it comes to nurses and other medical professionals. That same bombastic dogmatist, Ron DeSantis, is now pushing for a truly far-right favorite topic of conversation: COVID protection. DeSantis is fully aware that over 1.1 million Americans have died from COVID and that approximately 50,000 Americans are still contracting the virus each week. And DeSantis, because he’s no fool, knows that masks and other precautions have been critical in the fight against the virus, both before and after a vaccine was developed.

So what does DeSantis propose for Florida? A robust new public health program to carefully track and treat new cases? no Massive outreach to encourage everyone who can get vaccinated to get the damn shots? no

Not even close…

DeSantis, in a remarkable impression of a pandemic denier, is now pushing for one continuous Ban on COVID mandates in Florida. He is calling on state lawmakers to impose permanent penalties on companies who want employees to get vaccinated, as well as masks and other public health steps that save lives. DeSantis clearly jumps into full conspiracy mode as he attempts to rewrite history about what actually happened, particularly in Florida. He even wants doctors stripped of their licenses for taking a position that deviates from the “medical consensus,” which DeSantis and his ilk will of course set. Free speech, anyone?

So, Governor Polis, here’s a second gold mine of great people who might want to come to Colorado: doctors, medics, and particularly nurses. We can offer these great people the opportunity to actually practice medicine without a governor interfering with partisan nonsense. We need these people, especially nurses, and I bet we just had to throw in a few more warm coats and they would flock here in droves.

So, Governor Polis, that’s my idea. Let’s go after the downtrodden, the disenfranchised, and the jaded medical and educational professionals in Florida. They can’t really do their job in Florida, so we’re bringing them here, where they can spread their wings and actually practice their vital professions, unhindered by far-right conspiracy nonsense.

What do you think?

sincerely,

Lt. Col. Hal Bidlack, Ph.D.

USAF – retired and woke up

Hal Bidlack is a retired political science professor and retired Air Force lieutenant colonel who has taught for more than 17 years at the US Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs.

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