Opening statement by Aspen Councilman Terry Paulson

Below is the opening City Council statement by Aspen Councilman Terry Paulson, who sponsored the resolution in December of 1999:

Fellow Council Members:

This resolution we will be considering for adoption tonight could be the most important consideration we will ever make as representatives of our constituents and their children.

Immigration-driven population increases are transforming America-already the fastest growing country of all the developed countries of the world and the third most populous country in the world-into a country of over a half-a-billion within the near future, within the lifetime of our school children.

In October, I attended and participated in a conference at the Aspen Institute, called The Myth of Sustainable Growth. At that conference, I had the privilege of hearing a remarkable talk, Population, Immigration and Global Ethics, by Jonette Christian, from Maine. Jonette is a family therapist by profession, giving her a very special perspective on this matter before us.

Here is some of what she said: "As this future descends upon our children, public silence about these numbers is deafening. And we are responding like deer with headlights in our eyes-paralyzed or else indifferent-and we would rather talk about almost anything else: urban sprawl, pollution... traffic, declining fish stocks, falling water tables... [smart growth], overcrowded schools, [highways and transportation]-anything to avoid blunt speech about [immigration-driven] population numbers. Speaking to you as a family therapist, this is the behavior of dysfunctional groups. They avoid conversation about the pink elephant in the living room at all costs, and they exhaust themselves in a flurry of helpful activity around peripheral matters. We have agitated, confused and deluded ourselves with the illusion that we are being overwhelmed by many, many problems-when in fact we have primarily only one. But it is the one that terrifies us the most, and we handle that terror by chattering endlessly about everything else. Denying... [ignoring] and minimizing population growth in the 1990s is a hate crime against future generations, and it must end"

And isn't that really the dilemma we are confronted with tonight? We can act as a dysfunctional family by making "safe", reality-denying choices. We can chose to support an ill-defined, general resolution in support of population stabilization, making sure not to mention the I-word, immigration, the prime driving force behind our reckless growth into a country of over a half-a-billion souls. We can ignore prudent, necessary reduction numbers and deny glaring facts that would otherwise encourage establishing a sound and traditionally consistent flow of population stabilizing immigration. And by doing so, we will effectively be choosing to foreclose the future of America's and Colorado's children.

Or we can make the necessary, responsible and, yes, uncomfortable choice. We can pass this resolution intact, a resolution written with carefully considered language and with distinguished, learned support-the only real hope for an eventual stable American population. And by doing that, we will serve as the needed example for other representative bodies to act affirmatively for their constituents, providing them with the opportunity to join the small yet growing number of uncompromising voices now openly acknowledging the emperor is indeed without cloths.

Finally, I am reminded of the frog-in-the-water analogy. You can put a frog in water and turn up the heat little by little until the frog is dead. On the other hand, drop a frog in boiling water and it immediately jumps out. We are all in the pot of water, and the heat is being insidiously turned up, up and up at the immigration knob.

Please, join me, by calling for this deadly, increasing heat to be turned down now to health-giving, bath water temperatures, by passing this resolution as written, and thereby insuring a sustainable future for America and her children.