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Scott Kimball’s possible connection to the murder for which Tim Masters was wrongfully convicted and imprisoned (http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_16352864) is another reminder of a simple but underrecognized fact of life: Every act has rippling repercussions throughout the fabric of our social field. Whoever murdered Peggy Hattrick didn’t commit an act whose sole consequence was to deprive an individual of her life, nor even one whose sole consequence was that plus the infliction of grief on all those who cared about her. It’s an act which also contributed to all of the consequences of that grief, and the consequences of those consequences, reverberating through our tightly intertwined and far-reaching social networks. It’s an act which also deprived Tim Masters of 18 years of his life, and which raised awareness of the problem of completely avoidable wrongful convictions.

And Tim Masters’ choice to draw disturbing teen age pictures of sex and violence, though in no way a criminal act, had consequences beyond their being seen by others and embarrassing the “artist,” consequences which converged with some of those of the murder itself. The same is true for every kind or unkind, wise or unwise, selfish or generous word or deed, of magnitudes large and small. There are many such words and deeds which contributed to the creation of Scott Kimball and others like him, ones which were considered completely innocent by those who indulged in them. Violence isn’t just a crime committed by some (though it is that as well), but also a cumulative collective phenomenon contributed to in small ways by many. It is the responsibility of each of us to absorb and transform those ripples which contribute to it, sending out instead ripples which contribute to something more positive.

Bill Clinton recommended that voters not let their anger over the sluggish economy cloud their judgment (http://www.denverpost.com/politics/ci_16352734). I recommend that voters allow their anger over the sluggish economy to focus their judgment on those who are responsible for it: the Republicans. People forget that when Barack Obama took office, we were teetering on the edge of the abyss of a Great-Depression-scale economic meltdown, not merely looking at years of slow-to-no growth and high unemployment. We averted that impending disaster by the bold policies that the Right has succeeded in vilifying in the minds of those who are not overly concerned with facts and logic, an impending disaster that was the direct consequence of Republican policies and priorities (particularly underregulation of the financial sector, something whose consequences had long been foreseen).

“Governor Tancredo” is a real possibility (http://www.denverpost.com/election2010/ci_16352450), and one which would be to Colorado what blunt force trauma is to a human brain: We might survive, but impaired and possibly crippled.

At a leadership panel at Arapahoe Community College a couple of days ago, one of the panelists paraphrased a Lone Tree library official regarding Colorado ballot initiatives 60, 61, and 101: They define a policy that is like slowly amputating one’s limbs to lose weight. I’ve used a similar (though less picturesque) metaphor to describe extreme anti-tax fiscal policy in general (such as that which has come to dominate Colorado, to our great harm): It’s like trying to impose weight loss by forced continual starvation.

The emphasis on transportation at the same panel of local government heads stuck a chord. Our transportation system is an economic circulatory system, moving nutrients and oxygen from where they come into the system to where they are needed (more precisely, since the economic analogue to a “digestive system” is more decentralized than the anatomical referent, the economic circulatory system moves nutrients around among particularized decentralized points of entry, helping to ensure that all parts are fully nourished). Overreliance on cars is like a high cholestoral diet, causing a clogging of the arteries (in the somewhat literal sense of gridlock, with resulting increased pollution and decreased productivity; as well as in the broader sense of  the more general dysfunctionalities of overreliance on cars).

Tiny Crawford CO’s love for it’s altruistic health care provider but scorn for the legislation that will allow her to continue to practice  (http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_16352526) is a wonderful illustration of the disconnect between blind ideological beliefs and judgments, and real human preferences and desires. The ideal would be for us all to ask, “if I didn’t know what my own circumstances in life would be (race, ethnicity, gender, socio-economic status, sexual preference, congenital physical condition and appearance, etc.), and I had to design a set of policies based on my self-interest prior to the lottery of birth, what would it be?” Second to that in preferability would be for each to vigorously seek his or her own self-interest based on a high volume of reliable information and well-reasoned analyses. Worst of all is what the Tea Party are their fellow travelers are trying to impose on us: Vigorous pursuit of an irrational set of ideological beliefs and judgments which don’t even serve the real interests of those pursuing them.

As for the “terrible” Health Reform Act itself, it’s funneling $19 million to Colorado to expand health clinics that serve the poor, unemployed, and uninsured, in a very definitive step in the right direction for this country.

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