OPINION — Over the years Democrats have done some dumb things. Republicans as well have done some dumb things. Over the years, they both have done some good things. Over the years Liberals and Conservatives have done some dumb things. They both have done some good things.
In the past, Democrats, Republicans, Liberals and Conservatives have been able to work together to solve the problems and exploit the opportunities of our country. Unfortunately, today there is such an animosity and antagonism between these groups that the ability and desire to care for our country and its citizens has become nearly impossible. The polarizations among these groups has become so severe that bringing them together seems beyond resolution.
The gap between these groups has been widened by people like Howard Sierer, the opinion columnist for St. George News. In its August 10 issue, the News provided a platform for his hateful and divisive vitriol.
I believe in the 1st Amendment of our Constitution and the freedom of speech but some of Sierer’s speech is hateful. Hate speech is not protected by the Constitution. That is because it is proven to incite violence.
I appreciate that the News claims Sierer’s “…opinions… are his own and may not be representative of St. George News.” However, the News should be more discreet in printing some of the hate speech in his columns. It incites hate, furthering our divide.
I’ve waited for nearly a week to present my opinion and criticism for fear of becoming the focus of hate speech and possible harm (which, I’ll admit, is a sad state-of-affairs.) The actions in Charlottesville this past weekend emboldened me to speak out. I cannot condone the violence that occurred there and am appalled by the actions, speech and goals of the KKK, white-supremacist, neo-Nazis and neo-fascists; the latter being the term Sierer chooses to call me and other Democrats.
Sierer cites several books in his column that define fascism. At least two, and the most prominent among his citations, have Nazi swastikas emboldened on their covers. While I admit to not having read the books he cites; I can’t believe how many definitions of neo-Nazism I have found that embrace white supremacist, nationalist, anti-Semitic, and fascist beliefs.
He offers several actions of college students and others that he describes as neo-fascists or, to quote him “…Neo-fascist Democrats…” I’ll admit, some may have been anarchist, who support anarchism, which is as bad as many other extreme-isms. However, in some of the examples he cites, the students were exercising their 1st Amendment rights.
Some of his examples were taken out of context. They sure as hell cannot be labeled as Democrats or liberals any more than the alt-right, KKK, neo-Nazi and other hate activists who protested in Charlottesville could be labeled Republicans or conservatives.
I would not condone the actions of any students who have damaged property and prevented free speech on their campuses. And, I know it has happened. Neither would I condone the violence of a person believed to hold neo-Nazi, extremist ideology and racist beliefs who killed two men by slitting their throats and stabbed another on a mass transit train in Oregon.
The three men had come to the defense of two teenage girls, an African-American and a Muslim who the killer was harassing with racial, hateful remarks. The month before he had been filmed at a rally giving the “Heil-Hitler,” Nazi salute. Nor would I condone the actions of a white nationalist who plowed his car into protesters in Charlottesville killing a woman and injuring nearly 20 people.
This behavior has gone too far and the language of people like Howard Sierer fans the flames of hate, bigotry and division of the people of our country. I’m sorry to see St. George News serve as a platform for such vitriol.
I have no problem with Sierer being a columnist for the News but, in the future, I hope the News will read his copy before it is published and encourage him to clean up his language.
Written by JOHN HUNT, Ivins
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