Here's a report from the Western Slope Watchdog from late last month that we didn't want to slip through unmentioned. From time to time, we've had to contend with some of the fringier Republican candidates for the Colorado legislature–and the occasional Congressman–who is convinced that the United Nations is right on the cusp of executing some kind of evil secret plan intended to strip away our American liberties. In 2010, GOP gubernatorial candidate Dan Maes made headlines–and punchlines–with his assertion that Denver's B-Cycle bike sharing program is part of a nefarious "United Nations program." J. Paul Brown, a former state representative defeated in 2012, said that then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was "negotiating a treaty with the United Nations to take away Americans’ guns, which would spur a civil war."
Well folks, another midterm election year is upon us, so get ready for a fresh round of U.N. conspiracy theories–it must work or they wouldn't use them. Meet Donald Suppes, the Republican nominee running in Senate District 5 for the seat being vacated by outgoing Sen. Gail Schwartz:
Public lands issues, such as road closures, target shooting in Dominguez-Escalante canyons or federal water grabs targeting ski resorts and ranches, are another concern of the Republican candidate, who said he was “researching quite heavily” the Utah legislature’s resolution asking for their federal lands back.
“That’s going to be a battle that we’re going to have to fight,” Suppes said. “If they won’t back off, we will do this – we will take our lands back.”
Suppes said he saw the anti-fossil fuels movement and issues relating to control of public lands as part of the creeping influence of Agenda 21. He added that he saw evidence of United Nations influence when he visited Mexico. [Pols emphasis]
“It’s absolutely here,” he said. “The thing about Agenda 21 that the liberals didn’t expect is it gave the liberal playbook a name.”
As we and other grownups have tried to explain in the past when this has come up, the United Nations' "Agenda 21 plan" consists of totally nonbinding recommendations on land use and economic planning. Like the U.N. Small Arms Treaty to regulate international arms trafficking, which conspiracy theorists imaginatively morphed into a "United Nations Gun Grab," these are recommendations meant mostly for the developing world–not for developed nations like the United States where solid land use policies (or in the case of guns, gun laws) already exist. In some countries, "Agenda 21" represents a first real attempt at any kind of land use planning.
In the minds of far-right Republicans and radio talk show hosts, however, "Agenda 21" has morphed into totalitarian plan to control more or less everything everyone in rural America does. It probably hasn't registered with Donald Suppes' target audience that the U.N. Small Arms Treaty has already been signed by the United States (it currently awaits ratification by a sufficient number of members), and gun confiscation in the neighborhoods of middle America has not followed suit. It's worth noting that the only nations to have voted against the U.N. Small Arms Treaty were Iran, North Korea, and Syria–what great company for the gun rights crowd to keep!
But that's the thing about conspiracy theories, isn't it? The next one is always the real one.