Recently, the Reader reported that racist flyers were thrown into the yards of South Sandpoint residents and that those flyers promoted a white supremacist website.
Such groups are tracked by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) which, in its spring reports, has documented that as a result of the presidential election, there has been an increase of hate groups and encouragement to racists like former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, as well as encouragement to white supremacist, skinhead and neo-nazi groups. They report that immediately after the election, hate-fueled violence and intimidation broke out across the country. These groups feel they now have one of their own in the White House.
What should also concern parents and grandparents, are the results from recent SPLC surveys of educators, who said that during and after the presidential campaign, there was an increase of bullying, racial slurs and extremist symbols in their classrooms, causing heightened anxiety and fear to those targeted. In a smaller number of cases, intimidation also targeted students whose parents were Trump supporters, but represented a minority in some school districts.
It is my opinion that the encouragement given to these groups and the hateful atmosphere we are witnessing falls directly into the lap of Mr. Trump, whose vile campaign rhetoric of fear, hatred and promotion of violence has seemingly made this country “safe” for fascism.
If we want to keep our democracy, we need all of our civic groups, all faith groups and their leaders, as well as our elected officials, as our city has done, to speak out against the rise of blatant, fascistic, anti-democracy in our country.
Philip A. Deutchman