Letter: Klingenschmitt’s statements were wrong, racist

Author: - August 29, 2014 - Updated: August 29, 2014

Dear Editor,

I am disappointed and shocked that the Republican Chair of El Paso County, Jeffrey Hays, did not follow the lead of his party chair at the state level, Ryan Call, and distance himself from the racist and incendiary remarks of House District 15 candidate, Gordon Klingenschmitt.

On Monday, Mr. Klingenschmitt issued a statement saying that Colorado Congressman Jared Polis, an openly gay congressman, “wants to bankrupt Christians who refuse to worship and endorse his sodomy.” Next, said Mr. Klingenschmitt, “He’ll join ISIS in beheading Christians.” The Colorado State Republican Party Chair, Ryan Call, denounced him from the party, but Mr. Hays stood by Klingenschmitt, saying: “I want to win. I believe in the value of us winning.”

Well, as the Democratic El Paso County party chair, I want to win too – but some candidates’ statements and values, which are racist, inflammatory and beyond the scope of a civil campaign in this country and our county, should be denounced, despite the cost of winning or losing. There is no way I would tolerate a candidate in this county running under the banner of our Democratic county party and issuing such statements. I would rather us lose a race than have a candidate of such low moral stature represent us! There are some basic values and tenets that are much more important than winning; one is truth!

Mr. Klingenschmitt further exacerbated the problem by saying Democrats did not have a sense of humor and that he was using hyperbole. He said he wanted to issue an apology to Congressman Polis, “even though he is openly gay.” What? He issues an apology saying Democrats don’t have a sense of humor in reacting to a horrible, hostile comment (which is not in any way hyperbole) and then states he is issuing this apology “even though” this person is gay. This is just the most recent of his outrageous, hateful comments.

Mr. Hays, I implore you to at least come out and condemn this statement as your state party chair has done. Don’t cover it up by saying that Democrats are using it as a smoke screen for our efforts to control people. Call it for what it is: an incredibly ugly, perverse comment that reflects badly on your party and on our community as a whole. Our community is better than this.

ISIS is a real threat to our country; it is nothing to joke about as the Republican candidate Klingenschmitt did. Let’s stand together as military families, active duty members, retired officers and veterans to denounce such atrocious statements that compare any United States Congressman to a terrorist organization. I do not think Mr. Klingenschmitt represents you, Mr. Hays, or anyone in this county.

Kathleen S. Ricker, Ph.D.
El Paso County Democratic Party

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