It’s not surprising that North Korea’s ditzy young dictator couldn’t find Colorado Springs on the map, even while threatening nuclear attack. His uncertain physical geography may simply parallel our city’s murky psychic geography.
We live here, but do we understand our place of residence? It’s as comfortable and unknowable as the Chelsea Hotel in the 1970s, as strange and interesting as the demon-haunted Dakota of “Rosemary’s Baby.”
Consider some recent events.
The voters kick 34-year-old City Councilor Brandy Williams to the curb and replace her with grizzled veteran Keith King. The 65-year-old is selected Tuesday to be Council president while Merv Bennett, also 65, becomes president pro tem.
Whether King’s fellow Councilors were awed by his legislative skills or intimidated by orders from He Whose Name Must Not Be Spoken (relayed in the form of the Gazette’s editorial endorsement of King’s candidacy) doesn’t much matter.
After the restoration of the deposed Bourbon monarchy in 1814, the wily French politician Maurice de Talleyrand famously remarked that “Ils n’ont rien appris, ni rien oublié” — “They have learned nothing and forgotten nothing.”
You can’t turn back time, but that doesn’t mean you can’t try. With six new full-throated conservatives on City Council, is it time to party like it’s 1949? Will the King and his court rekindle the conservative fire that gave the state Douglas Bruce, the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, Amendment 2, Dr. Dobson and Colorado for Family Values?
Disconsolate Democrats, liberals and moderates think so. They think we’re run by an old, white, male conservative establishment, operating with an antediluvian playbook — and here are the rules:
We run things. If you want to run things, wait until you’re old, white, male and conservative.
You can have your gay pride thing, but don’t expect any proclamations from anybody. That’s our way of telling you that you’re second-class citizens.
Downtown is fine, but no convention center. (It’d compete with The Broadmoor — can’t have that!)
Drake power plant stays put, and coal will always be king.
And while we’re at it, no downtown baseball stadium — baseball stays in the suburbs, where it’s safe, clean, wholesome fun for families and retirees.
And listen — if you think that’s a recipe for decline, think again. We’ll keep taxes low, services minimal, shrink city salaries, benefits and workforce numbers, and get a reputation as the most business friendly city in America. We even have an airport, with as many as 30 daily flights. You can get anywhere from here, especially if you enjoy leaving at 6 a.m., flying to Dallas or Chicago, waiting around for a couple of hours, and then flying to wherever it is you want to go.
Well, maybe — but there are other narratives.
In the past 20 years, Colorado Springs has become a modern, inclusive and diverse city. We’ve left behind the divisive quarrels of the early 1990s and created a template for growth, change and modernization.
Don’t think so? You should have been at a certain lovely spring wedding last Sunday when two notable city residents tied the knot. Linda Weise, Judeth Shay Burns and Janna Lee sang, the Rev. Benjamin Broadbent presided, the families beamed and 200 of the couple’s friends got all misty-eyed.
Following the ceremony at First Congregational Church, the guests walked to the Famous for an amazing reception, including too much wine, champagne, great food, moving toasts, and joyous dancing.
It was like any other marriage, full of hope and promise — and it was one that couldn’t have taken place two months ago.
That’s not because one of the couple is black and the other white. That’s because Chris Martell and Jerome Carter are both male — and deeply in love. Think of that: a same-sex, biracial marriage in an establishment church in Colorado Springs.
On Monday, the Bee Vradenburg Foundation announced that 23-year-old David Siegel would become the foundation’s new executive director. Just savor that for a moment, and say it out loud: “23-year-old foundation executive director.” Siegel joins 28-year-old COPPeR executive director Christina McGrath in the budding pantheon of 20-something power players in the arts community. Geezers, beware — here come the young!
So we are — simultaneously empowering and disempowering the young, celebrating gay nuptials, electing conservatives and acting like liberals.
Maybe Kim Jong-Un has it right after all — we’re the city of quantum entanglement. We can be in two places at once, or maybe three, four, seven, 12, 31, 36.
Try those numbers on Powerball! In Colorado Springs, anything’s possible.