Divisiveness in our Political Space -- No Room for it in Teller County
How far have we
come since the outstanding cooperation and neighborly behavior we saw during
the High Chateau Fire and other Teller County moments where our residents came
together for the good of all and our community. In those times, we didn’t see Republican or
Democrat, we saw neighbors, friends, and people in need. And even in those times we may not have
agreed on what to do, but we shared ideas, and came together for the good of
I have been a leader my whole life. And a key rule for any leader is to never look down your nose at the very people you claim to serve. While there is of course room in politics for healthy debate and respectful discourse on a variety of issues, those of us running for office in Teller County ought not to fan the flames of discontent among our residents for perceived short-term political gain.
The behaviors we see at the Federal level
should not be replicated here at any level. We should lead by personal example, with real
ideas for our County’s future, not attack those of the other party in an
attempt to look “more Republican.” It’s disrespectful,
not Christian, and frankly, empty.
Washington argued that “political parties need to be restrained in a free
country with a government empowered by the consent of the governed and
established through popular elections.” He warned us that overheated political
parties could distract the government from its required duty to the people and
even lead to the eradication of the freedoms established at our founding.
Christians, Proverbs 15:18 provides another example against divisiveness, “a
hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but the slow to anger calms a dispute.”
for public office in Teller County, in particular, County Commissioner, we
should exercise extreme caution with what we say about those we hope to serve
and protect just because they don’t agree with all of our positions. In 35 years of combined public service at
the Federal and County level, I learned that we serve all of the people – not just those who agree with us.
I was truly
saddened by those of you who contacted me to point out my opponent’s sneering rant
on Facebook on September 21, 2019 at 2:40 PM, calling our neighbors who are
I am calling
out my opponent and asking for a return to civility in this campaign for the
good of our party and for the good of our residents. He consistently communicates that he is
asking for insight from the people and is listening. He seems to be running a populist, promise
them anything, “I’d like to hear from you,” Campaign.
Sir, you are
in fact not listening, and you have already marginalized a sizable portion of
our County, calling them “Crazy Democrats.”
I am truly
disturbed by anyone who attacks someone merely because of a political
disagreement. Is it because the attacker
has no vision of his own, or any real leadership experience, or is the attacker
already doing the bidding of those who are financing his campaign? Maybe it’s a little of all of it?
What is VERY
CLEAR to me is that my opponent is not a respectful or serious candidate for
County Commissioner--nor is he what he portrays. Anyone who truly wants to hear from our
people in a “bottom-up” campaign would listen to all of our people, not just
Republicans or others who already agree with you. That is not a campaign, but an echo
chamber. In the end, a County
Commissioner must protect the life, health, and safety of each and every one of
us regardless of political affiliation.
seems to be campaigning from some backroom playbook that says if you pander to
a vocal few in the majority, and openly criticize others, you will somehow
appear “Republican.” This runs 100% counter
to the principles of our Republic and those of our Founding Fathers. Americans are, as the Framers of our Republic
were, distinctly aware of the “Tyranny of the Majority,” so we rely on
structures, laws, and principles to ensure that everyone has a voice, even if
they may be in the minority. This is
exactly why so many folks, of all walks of life and political perspectives,
agree that the National Popular Vote concept is dead wrong.
My opponent employed a dangerous
rhetoric in his published video, suggesting that if he is elected, he has no
interest in the thoughts of “crazy” Democrats…or in other words, about 1/3 of
my opponent forgets the feelings that we as Republicans experienced in the last
year when some Democrat lawmakers rudely ignored the ideas and arguments of
some state residents, merely because they spoke from a conservative
perspective. Maybe he forgets the indignation Trump supporters felt when Hillary Clinton called them "deplorable." I pray that my opponent is
not looking for retribution.
has to stop.
and Democrats disagree on many issues and agree on some, but we are all God’s
children and Teller County residents and debate is healthy for our
democracy. The future I am trying to
shape in Teller County will include all of us and I will listen, as I have
been, to all of our residents. We ought not
to denigrate those we hope to serve and lead. How we conduct ourselves in this campaign is a demonstration of our character
and intent. This is not Washington D.C.
this is Teller County, where we try and respect each other’s thoughts and
opinions for the good of all.
I am proud to
call many of our Teller County residents my friends and partners, and this
campaign has introduced me to many new friends and like-minded people that care
about our future. To be very clear, I
would NEVER call a third of our friends and neighbors “crazy” for their
personal political beliefs or for demonstrating their unalienable rights. Not only is what my opponent said out of line
and dead wrong, but also it is not Christian. More important than campaign talking points, posters and promises, is
what we say as candidates, what we say and how we behave is a true indicator of
a person’s character and a predictor of future behavior. Calling a group of Teller County residents
crazy for their political believes, discounting that they too care about our
county, serve in its government and run our businesses is exactly why my
opponent will not be a County Commissioner in this County.
To be sure, I
am a proud Republican and fiscal conservative but I respect Teller County
residents who may have a different point of view. I appreciate the fact that they trust me to
share their perspectives, even if they differ from mine. Surely, there are things all of us can agree
successful governments, citizen involvement boards, businesses and organization
are successful because they encourage the open sharing of ideas for a better
future. In Teller County, even if we
disagree, we know there are many things we do have in common – we love our
children, we value our freedom, we worship the same God, we value our Western
heritage and being neighborly, and we are all concerned about our future and
As our County
moves toward its decision to choose its leaders, it is important, to hear and
see for yourself the kind of people they are. I would encourage you to watch this rant yourself. Just pull up
Facebook, then search on @DRusterholtz. I am not sure how long he will keep it up now that I called him out, but
many of our residents, many of whom have contacted me, have seen it and have
passed it along. Of course, if words
matter, my opponent began this campaign by stating that he is an “unapologetic” person, so perhaps he will have
the courage to keep it posted.
you can click https://www.danwilliams4tellercounty.com/rusterholtz-transcript to see the transcript of what he said.
My consistent pledge to you continues to be that when I am your County Commissioner I will protect the life, health and safety of ALL our residents. Our demographic is changing rapidly, and those of us who have been in or associated with Teller County for many years, should lead by example in our behavior, decorum and lifestyle – particularly those of us asking for the privilege to serve you in public office. To those who were and are offended by the angry words of some of us running for office, I would ask that you not judge the rest of us or the Republican Party as a whole.