Letter: Racism claims have no place in political discourse | AspenTimes.com

Letter: Racism claims have no place in political discourse

When did public-policy differences become “racism,” with partisans labeling adherents of the other party “racist” for opposing the current administration’s policy prescriptions? When was such extreme rhetoric used to demean legitimate disagreements? It’s distressing when this occurs at the national level, but when it creeps into the discourse here in Pitkin County, it’s downright alarming.

In a recent letter to the editor, the writer objected to a television ad by a Karl Rove group. I’m not sure I’ve seen the ad in question, but I have seen one that correctly asserts that many Coloradans lost their health insurance as a result of Obamacare. The letter writer states: “I think it’s time to speak out against the obvious racism inherent in the blame game that pretends to be something else. The lies are designed to feed the need to justify hate. It sickens me.”

Ads attacking Obamacare resonate with me and not because of racism. A close relative was one of the approximately 335,000 Coloradans who lost their existing insurance as a result of Obamacare’s requirements. He was insured under the Colorado high-risk pool, which existed prior to Obamacare to cover people who had pre-existing conditions and could not otherwise get coverage. The premiums in the pool were affordable, and our relative was able to get the medical care he needed. When Obamacare went into effect, the pool was canceled and our relative was forced to go into the Colorado health-insurance exchange to maintain coverage. In the exchange, his premiums on the Front Range are double what he was paying and the deductible and co-pays far higher (he needed to continue to see his doctor, and therefore a cheaper narrow network plan was not an option). He does not earn a lot of money and can ill afford these costs.

The polls show that a majority of Americans oppose Obamacare. Are all these opponents racists? Hardly. I’d like to suggest a new protocol for “political correctness” in Pitkin County. Let’s not call folks who disagree with current government policy “racist.” After all, the city of Aspen in its wisdom has placed the Republican and Democratic booths at the Aspen Saturday Market, next to each other and it would be a shame if some of us think our neighbors are “racists” and some of us think we’re viewed as such by our neighbors.

Frieda Wallison

Chair, Pitkin County Republicans

Old Snowmass