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A breath of normality in the wind this summer? | DUFFY | Opinion






Sean Duffy



It’s the middle of summer, so let’s talk about skunks.

Here in Colorado and across the country, we are seeing people reassert their fundamental right to shape their lives, their communities, and their futures in a number of important ways.

And what does that have to do with skunks?

One of the advantages of Colorado summers is that we can often keep the windows open, especially at night. Occasionally, however, we are hit by a distant but unmistakable skunk smell. We get up and close the window. But more often than not, we tolerate it and it goes away.

This is how many of us deal with the daily parade of oddities, annoyances and irritations that politicians and their policy decisions produce in us.

But we are increasingly hearing the intolerable experience that my friend had.

The other day we met for coffee and he told me the story of how he had to let his dog out in the middle of the night and unfortunately his dog ran into a skunk. The skunk, scared, did what skunks do.

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Suddenly, the peaceful night was shattered as the dog, the house, and all the residents were permeated by the acrid smell seeping through every crack and everywhere. This is a red alert to leave everything behind – a total focus on getting rid of everything and everyone stinky.

For years, we have tolerated the distant scents of strange, offensive and retrograde politicians, whose policies have eroded the basic fibers of our society.

But when the stench hits our nose, it is intolerable. The stench that hits our face from dysfunction, dishonesty and the deep disconnect between elected officials and citizens provokes a wide range of reactions.

In the Democratic Party, the nauseating odor of anti-Semitism was sprinkled with the sweet scent of decency when two pro-Hamas lawmakers were thrown back into the feverish swamp of leftist irrelevance from which they emerged.

And in the Republican Party, two bizarre, self-serving, bombastic, petty candidates were crushed in congressional primaries by well-qualified, solidly conservative candidates who are also deeply normal. The final straw was an over-the-top, anti-LGBTQ email from the state Republican Party, aimed at helping the party’s current chairman, who was also running for Congress. That email urged burning Pride flags with the moniker “God Hates Flags.” Even some longtime Republican activists who have consistently opposed expanding the gay rights agenda said this was unacceptable.

There is now a possibility that this skunk will be ousted from his presidency.

But the reaction is not only political.

Last Sunday, a national news story detailed how many prominent conservative intellectual leaders, who had worked for decades at various California universities and think tanks, had left for more friendly climes. Why pay taxes in a state that is consistently hostile to your values ​​and worldview?

For some, that means Texas. For others, it’s rural America, whether the Rocky Mountains of the north or the deep red areas of the south.

For others, it’s a decision that involves voting with their feet in favor of new schools. It’s been widely documented that pandemic-driven online education left many parents feeling uncomfortable with what was (and wasn’t) being taught. Fortunately, in Colorado, parents have several options: a different traditional public school, a charter school, a magnet school, and many others.

A School Choice Week survey found that 72% of American families considered changing schools this year and 44% made the move.

One of the most popular options is a complete break with the style, curriculum and worldview of most public schools: classical education.

Classical schools, which can be found throughout Colorado and are often faith-based but also include institutions with secular programs, hark back to a much more rigorous and in-depth curriculum based on the progression from grammar to logic and rhetoric. The schools typically use “great books” as a foundation for learning and emphasize developing strong character in students.

Serious and challenging stuff.

A study by Aredia Education shows that there are currently 677,000 students enrolled in some form of classical education, including 1,551 schools across the country. The numbers are expected to increase significantly.

Whether we’re irritated by elected leaders, state and local policies, our children’s schools, or any other facet of life, we don’t have to settle for complaining that “this sucks.”

Go out and get some fresh air of normality… and freedom.

Sean Duffy, former deputy chief of staff to Governor Bill Owens, is a communications and media relations strategist and ghostwriter based in the Denver area.