Olympia WA- The Washington State Republican Party is going after a local businesswoman who gave large donations to the local Democratic Party in 2012 and 2014. As reported in the Nisqually Valley News, the State Republican Party has joined with the conservative Freedom Foundation to accuse her in the media of being racist, homophobic and anti-gay. They have jointly called on the Thurston County Democrats to return her donations and to refuse any further funds from her. This is both curious and almost funny, because the businesswoman, JZ Knight, has long been a public advocate of same sex marriage and GLBTQ civil rights. The “evidence” local Republicans say they have to support their accusations is very flimsy, a couple of highly edited video clips made to give the appearance of something they were not. The illegal use of the videos has been dealt with by two courts of law according to Mike Wright, Knight’s spokesperson. For more than 20 years, Knight has run a very successful New Age spiritual retreat center in the region, which has become a mainstay of the local economy. She has employed several openly gay men and women for years in her business, who all say that Republican accusations are completely false. Many GLBTQ travel to the region to attend her retreats and seminars, and they aren’t complaining. Knight’s only real “crime”, if one can call it that, is of wanting to give a pile of money to local Democrats.
So- is this the new Republican play book? If you give money to the Democrats, no matter who or what you are, Republicans are going to make stuff up to try to smear you as a racist, anti-gay, or a homophobe? Are Republicans going to cynically and very hypocritically co-opt “gay civil rights” and “homophobia” as weapons to try to force Democrats to refuse donations from, well, anyone?
After all, the Republican Party is no friend to GLBTQ, to say the least. Having them call anyone else a homophobe or racist is a stretch. Admittedly, Knight has had a very long and somewhat controversial career as a psychic channeler, friend to Linda Evans and other celebrities, all the while obviously scaring the neighbors. One might well be put off by her spiritual beliefs. But that doesn’t make Knight a homophobe or a racist. Her school is also not anti-gay as many long-time students attest in the school’s online newsletter. So how did the State Republican Party get there? Or did they simply lose all sense and reason when they saw the fat check she gave to local Democrats? Are Republicans really THAT desperate? More to the point, are we going to now see this as a national fund-raising trend?
Frankly, I’ve never heard of anything so vicious and dumb at the same time.