Who Is Lisa Cutter?

  • Posted: September 21, 2020
  • Category: Blog
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Who is my neighbor? A simple question with a simple answer, unless of course, one has too much time on their hands. Neighbor – a word used in many contexts, easily taken out of context. Our answer to the question is revealing. Do we have to think for a minute, or even dissemble because we don’t know the guy next door? Are we a stranger to those we live among, whom we see driving down our street?

Christianity, our cultural foundation, weighs in with answers both ambiguous and uncomfortable. When He was asked the question, Jesus responded with one of his most well-known parables, that of The Good Samaritan. Interestingly the question was put by a lawyer, a lawyer seeking to justify himself. Though upon reflection, it would have been even more interesting if the question had been asked by a non-lawyer. Jesus’ parable of The Good Samaritan chastised the lawyer as well as discomfiting Christians for the next two millennia without providing a concrete answer to the direct sense of the question, something He did with regularity.

The Old Testament, as is its nature, wanders around the question, with “neighbor” usually implying fellow Israelite, making a clear distinction from the “other” – the alien and stranger who lives among you. But the Old Testament, in a radical break with human norms, is careful to say that the alien and stranger living among you is to be treated fairly, accorded the same rights even though not one of the “chosen”.

We are to love our neighbor as ourselves, but being only human, we can’t help but bring a geographical frame to our understanding of “neighbor”. In contrast to the New Testament, the Old Testament is a handbook for living as we are rather than who we are meant to be. We live in neighborhoods among neighbors, after all.

I grew up in farm country. A small town of a few thousand was the “city” to me. The life of spiritual righteousness aside, neighbor was a small box – easily and clearly defined or so it seemed at the time. Within only a degree or two of separation, everybody knew everybody else. Everyone had a reputation, fair or not, but our reputation resulted from a life lived among neighbors.

Moving to Lincoln, NE, a university town, threw me into a new neighborhood, but isolated in the bubble of college life, although the neighbors were new the neighborhood didn’t change all that much.

Then I took my first real step out into the world and moved to Los Angeles, Annette Funicello and Jim Rockford, Sgt. Joe Friday and the Beach Boys. The City of Angels was a strange new world, an anonymous world. Outside of that amorphous constantly changing circle of people I worked with, I was anonymous and so were they. The people in my apartment building were anonymous. Saints or sinners, mundane or exceptional, we were ships passing in the night exchanging the semaphore signals that have come to be known as “virtue signaling”.

Enticed by the blandishments of ambition and urban ease, I have lived in an anonymous city ever since. Though I now harbor steadily increasing regrets over my seduction, I found it an easy adjustment. Having a job, wife and children forces social interaction, but anonymity does suit me.

But again  – “Who is my neighbor?” The question resonates in the rutted tracks of our mundane existence. Even the curmudgeon seeks fellows with which to wallow in the soothing mud of sour grump. And to the point, we do live in a representative democracy, at least for now. That means we elect one of our neighbors to represent us, to attend the State Legislature, or the County Commission meetings or all the other local jurisdictions that govern our lives on an increasingly granular level.

The sound and fury of national politics is hurricane footage on the Weather Channel. It is actors on a stage with unlimited budgets for special effects. What is real? What is not real? Despite the apocalyptic hue and cry in our echo chambers, the effects of national politics are like the climate, slow and inexorable but beyond prediction or rational plan. Our national leaders are willful children tugging at the levers on a run-away train.

But on a smaller more local scale, we might have some effect, however small, some comprehension of what we do. We are electing our neighbors to make decisions that affect our community, our neighborhood however anonymous our neighbors might be.

And so we come to Lisa Cutter, my State Representative in the Colorado Legislature. Perhaps I am remiss in my duties as a citizen of the United States and a resident of Colorado and Jefferson County, but I do err on the side of blissfully ignorance as to my local representatives. I make the assumption, perhaps unwarranted, that they are fairly representative of my neighbors and myself.

And so it was that I noticed a professionally done flyer in the mail from Lisa Cutter, urging me to re-elect her as my representative in the State Legislature. In her mailer, Ms. Cutter describes herself as non-ideological, dedicated to working across the aisle, holding taxes down, making schools better and nurturing small business. “Does she also walk on water”, I wonder?

I might add that her party affiliation did not appear anywhere noticeable, though based on presentation, she sounded very Republican. But it so happened that I had heard a fellow curmudgeon at the local wallow mention our “flaming liberal” Representative. And needing an idea for the next blog post, I browsed the internet for the wonders it might reveal.

Well per that fount of truth, the internet, Lisa Cutter is a neighbor, a wife and mom. Her kids went to our neighborhood high school. I’ve probably seen her at the local King Soopers, though – who am I kidding? Maybe if she patronizes the local Home Depot. She even hosted a Town Hall meeting at a burger joint I have been seen at. She’s a small business owner rather than lawyer, mature in years. There’s a lot to like about her and her record of accomplishment, even if a bit inflated, sounds good.

But upon investigation, I have to say that I don’t think Lisa Cutter a good neighbor. To start with, I think a good neighbor would be honest, demonstrating a modicum of integrity as to their intentions. It turns out that Lisa Cutter is not a Republican, but a Democrat, and it must be said – a Democrat in good progressive standing. Understandably, that is a bit of a handicap in our district – heavily Republican and quite conservative. It is reported that she is the first Democrat ever elected in our House District.

Lisa came to local prominence in politics as an organizer of the first Women’s March in Denver and her emotional abhorrence of The Donald drove her to run for office. You know Donald Trump, the Presidential candidate who won her House District handily. Upon her election, Lisa introduced what she called her “dream” legislation, a bill titled “Moving Colorado to Zero Waste”. As you can imagine, enacting laws that add to the regulatory thickets increasing the costs of packaging, recycling and retail practices is a real priority for a heavily conservative Republican neighborhood.

Lisa is a small business owner to be sure, but then as a former small business owner myself, I question whether that over-used rubric includes boutique consultants without overhead or footprint. Ms. Cutter heads a virtual public relations firm with a list of non-profits such as The Women’s Bean Project for clients. Though her website has three associates profiled, those smiling women have all the earmarks of 1099’s, i.e. “gig” workers.

While Lisa failed to get traction for her dream legislation, “Moving Colorado to Zero Waste”, she became the proud co-sponsor of a law mandating increased health care costs. I am sure that small business owners in her House District, those actually burdened with business expenses such as rent and actual W-2 employees, are more than pleased to pay higher health care premiums for their real employees.

Actually, Lisa and I do share a fairly exclusive niche, we both write a blog. In her latest post, Lisa gave extensive coverage to one of the organizations that will be greatly benefitted by her new law, Queer Asterick – a different kind of mental health organization; rooted in social justice advocacy, devoted to compassionate counseling and education, and run entirely by queer and transgender professionals.

Again, I expect that small business owners in a heavily conservative Republican House District believe increased health care premiums a small price to pay for the opportunity to advance social justice advocacy.

As for her efforts to make our children’s schools better, Lisa’s legislative career has not just given lip service to that baby kissing promise of politicians everywhere. Lisa has created a Media Literacy Advisory Committee made up of administrators, educators, parents, students; as well as experts able to offer unique insights, specifically credentialed print and broadcast journalists and librarians. I am sure teachers everywhere are looking forward to implementing the directives and recommendations of this group. “Oh boy – another group of boxes I have to check off each school term!!”

Lisa Cutter is obviously a woman of talent and energy, working for what she believes in. She is to be commended for that. People like Lisa Cutter are what makes our country unique. She believes in our democracy and our institutions of government. Her idealism comes across.

To her credit, Lisa Cutter is not limited by her passion for local issues like creating committees to bloat educational bureaucracies and make the nattering of “green experts” even more cumbersome and expensive than they are. Lisa has pledged to “defend her record and the broader Democratic agenda”.

One eagerly awaits her statements on such issues as abortion, defunding the police, gun control and the other mandates of the progressive agenda – in a re-election campaign in conservative south Jefferson County. One wonders whether Lisa will follow her national party in adopting Cardi B’s “WAP” as her anthem. Given that Colorado is a battleground state, maybe Cardi B or Megan Thee Stallion will make an appearance with Lisa – perhaps even sing, though “WAP’s” XXX lyrics may be a bridge too far in South Jeffco. But alas, one imagines that Mrs. Cutter will carefully conceal and deflect her thoughts on such issues, until of course her next vote on a related issue in the Legislature requires her to “vote her conscience”.

Like most other citizens becoming politicians, Lisa says her time in the Legislature has been an eye-opening experience. To quote Lisa, “Sometimes the politics of it are really demoralizing, that you can’t debate things on their merits all the time, there’s a lot of gamesmanship”. Imagine that – a Public Relations (PR) consultant complaining about gamesmanship and a lack of candor. Back in the day, we hired a PR consultant to tell our story. He described the practice of PR as “the art of putting lipstick on a reluctant pig”.

I find my neighbor, Lisa Cutter, to be at best disingenuous. But I also believe that if Lisa Cutter really believed in democracy, if she really believed in what she wants to do, she wouldn’t mislead us. She would speak forthrightly about her plans rather than indulging her obvious talent for misdirection and hiding in the thickets of sophistry. I might even vote for her.

I suspect that Lisa Cutter believes the business of oil & gas to be a devastation on the environment, a pillaging of nature, a depredation that must be ended. Many people feel that way, including many of my neighbors. But when asked my line of work at neighborhood gatherings, I always was proud to say, “I build pipelines and gas plants. I design power plants, coal & gas fired power plants.”

Would that Lisa Cutter be as forthright a neighbor. Lisa is not the first politician to say one thing while doing another. She is a successful politician after all. She is not the first politician to be publicly saddened by “Sometimes the politics of it are really demoralizing, that you can’t debate things on their merits all the time, there’s a lot of gamesmanship”.

Does Mrs. Cutter regret her evasions and obfuscations in those quiet sleepless nights? Of course those little white lies are all in a good cause. Those who wish to achieve must be willing to take casualties. It was Aeschylus, the playwright standing in the shield wall at Marathon 2,500 years ago, who first said:

“In war, truth is the first casualty”

Mrs. Cutter and her fellow Adorables have indeed declared war on Donald Trump and the words of Aeschylus ring as true now as in 500 BC. But in those quiet watches of the night, the irony of Donald Trump must be especially bitter to a master of gamesmanship, momentarily demoralized at her need to dissemble.

It is Donald Trump who said what he would do if elected and then did just that. No sophistry. No evasions. No obfuscation.


3 Responses to “Who Is Lisa Cutter?”

  1. John Carveth says:

    Truth is something Democrats feel they have to manage, obscure, and hide from. Our illustrious governor showed his verson of truth by never showing up with his homo boyfriend during the election process. I think that if someone had researched the voters they would have found very few who knew he was Gay.

  2. Marvin Floyd says:

    All the Lisas in Colorado are the reason we left. We do not miss it and actually find ourselves feeing sorry for those that remain. Unfortunately though, our state has Lisas as well, throughout the statehouse. Several are really outsiders who bought their way into the state because they couldn’t get elected back home.

  3. jeff esbenshade says:

    Lisa is so liberal she is on the education committee, with another 10 other
    representatives, she was the only vote to do away with charter schools.

    Please vote for Don Rosier Nov 3rd for Colo. House of Representative District 25.

    To learn more about Don go to http://www.DonaldRosier.com

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