The Future Is Unwritten: Montana Pushes Back Against Nazi Creeps
With racist hate on the rise, the response of the small town of Whitefish, Montana to an ugly Nazi campaign - from a Swastika-bedecked push against Jewish residents and "the lying, depraved Jew media" to a threatened armed march in January - provides a hopeful model for resistance. The assault against decency was launched by the neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer, which bills itself alternately and equally terrifyingly as "America's #1 Most-Trusted Republican News Source" and "The World's Most Goal-Oriented Republican Website."
Targeting Whitefish because Nazi of the Hour Richard Spencer's mother lives there and her business has allegedly been hurt by the town's "Jewish racketeering cabal" - don't ask - the Stormer announced the march with an Auschwitz-themed graphic. Leading up to the event, they have urged followers to “take action” against area Jews by sending them anti-Semitic messages, putting Nazi flags in their windows and swastikas on their cars, and publishing Jews' names, photos and contact information, complete with yellow stars. Yes. Really.
Happily, both the public and private denizens of Montana have risen to the vile occasion. The state's governor, attorney general, congressional delegation, Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, religious leaders, Council on American Islamic Relations as well as Whitefish's mayor, law enforcement and school officials have stood together to proclaim, "Montana (is not) a place that tolerates threats and intimidation by white nationalists...They shall find no safe haven here.” Residents have urged online support for diversity, faith groups have asked residents to send notes of support to Jewish victims of harassment, Christian clergy have put menorahs in their windows in solidarity, and progressive groups like "Love Lives Here" and Montana Human Rights Network are co-sponsoring a “Love Not Hate” block party.
Such concerted grassroots resistance - along with disparate acts of courage from individuals calling out the hate to groups establishing an investigative fund into Trumpian malfeasance, motto: "The election is over, but the future is unwritten" - are what's needed now, argues activist and actor George Takei in his fiery, "Welcome to the Resistance." A gay Asian-American who grew up in internment camps, Takei has been here before: "In today's political environment, we find ourselves again outsiders, forming a core of those opposed to the powers in Washington...This is not unfamiliar territory. It is, in fact, where movements were born. The greatest moments in civil rights, from Selma to Stonewall, Seneca Falls to Standing Rock, sprang forward not from eras of harmony, but out of bitter conflict...Be ready. Be vigilant. Be strong." And as he earlier responded to the deranged Trump tweet, "Let it be an arms race" - "Let it be a short term."