Monday, March 16, 2009

Not Much of a Problem?

As I said recently, it is those who have come to the defense of Zeb Bell and Rep. John A. "Bert" Stevenson that cause me the most distress. This morning, a fellow blogger and guy I consider to be a true comrade in the fight against hate speech in southern Idaho, Sisyphus, was responding to a question posed at Huckleberries Online regarding hate in the inland Northwest, the ill-managed blog belonging to the Spokesman Review and his response was met with a comment that I find equally distressing if not more so:
...You southern Idahoans are the ones having trouble getting Zeb Bell off the air not us. We had and continue to have an aggressive human rights movement in North Idaho. Can you say the same down south?
And, in response to a strongly worded follow-up from Sisyphus came this:
You're the one who took a swipe at North Idaho, as though we have this monstrous ongoing problem and you southern Idahoans don't have much of a problem at all.

The editor of Huckleberries went on to state that, what I assume is a suggestion that we'd get further in railing against the likes of Zeb Bell if we used a bipartisan approach:

BTW, the local effort was a bipartisan one. Wassmuth, Stewart, Gissel & other early task force leaders realized that they wouldn't go far w/o involving regional Republicans. You should consider that point carefully as you try to do something about racism in your neck of the woods.

Anyone who has taken a moment to notice how much work has been put into the monitoring of Zeb Bell should know that one of the most active voices for the removal of Zeb's filth would never associate himself with the party that I support. Additionally, it is awfully difficult to approach "Zeb at the Ranch" from a bipartisan angel when he features guests like Norm Semanko, Chairman of the Idaho Republican Party (today on the show), Assistant House Majority Leader Scott Bedke (R-Oakley), Senator Denton Darrington (R-Declo), Senator Dean Cameron (R-Rupert), Representative Bert Stevenson who I've previously mentioned, Rep. Wood (R-Burley), Republican members of various state legislatures and guys like Bryan Fischer of the increasingly scary Idaho Values Alliance. Many of these are big time Idaho Republicans with heavy influence in the Statehouse and throughout the state. I've never believed the Zeb Bell issue to be a partisan one, as Zeb himself does, and I've always stated that we shouldn't make it about partisan politics.

It seems to me, we either have a problem or we don't have a problem in southern Idaho and DFO, the editor of Huckleberries and author of the previous three comments has made it clear in the past that Zeb Bell and the hate aired in the Mini-Cassia/Magic Valley area isn't worth his time. Not only is it not worth his time, it isn't of interest to those in northern Idaho and those of us down here who devote our energy to monitoring this particular hate speech gold mine are wasting our time.

Apparently hate speech and hate groups are only a problem if they're in your back yard and the hate we experience here in our communities isn't even comparable to the hate that infiltrated northern Idaho and still exists there. I certainly understand the weight of the Aryan hate and believe me, the mentality of Zeb and his listeners is no different than the mentality of those sympathetic to the Aryan Nations.

There aren't marches in the streets of southern Idaho reflecting the beliefs of Bell or opposing the filth he broadcasts, but that doesn't mean we in southern Idaho don't feel the weight of hatred. It may become violent or not, it may be isolated at times, and it may from time to time be simply comical, but it is hatred. It is homegrown hatred that knows no boundaries. It is heard by kids who are home schooled whose parents call-in and offer their children up to recite the Pledge of Allegiance at the beginning of the show. It is heard by young men and women who repeat what they hear there, calling their classmates "fags" and their president a "monkey with ties to terrorist organizations." It is heard by husbands whose wives don't think they should repeat on the air that they did in fact say guns speak louder than words.

We may not find swastikas painted on the sides of barns here in southern Idaho, but that doesn't mean the particular brand of hate here stings any less. There are those of us who hide our identities because we fear the listeners of Zeb Bell and Rush Limbaugh for what they are capable of. There are some who hide their identities to keep from losing their jobs. There are some who choose not to promote their identity at the sake of their families and still their families either retaliate or are unpleasantly surprised at the vandalism they may find on their property.

Maybe the particular brand of hate in this part of the state isn't important to some, but it is damned important to me. We have hate in southern Idaho just as those in northern Idaho do and yes, it irritates the hell out of me when people say we don't have a problem. We have a huge problem and I'm trying to do what I can, what very little I can, to put an end to it, at least put an end to that very hatred being played over the airwaves. Please respect that.


Kelly said...

I think the light you are shedding on Zeb and his hate-mongering, as well as other issues, is honorable.

Bob said...

Oliveria is desperately clinging to the shreds of a career for a dying newspaper. His chief legacy is his involvement in the human rights struggle against the Aryan Nation back in the 80s and early 90s. He spins this fantasy that they kicked all the bad guys outta North Idaho and it's a pro human rights region now, when in fact it's racist as hell, they only chased out the most visible front for the most cartoonishly racist and evil of the bunch, but that North Idaho has institutionalized racism ranging from the local yokels to the white flight of retired LAPD white cops and Cali equity refugees.

DFO's filters and screens won't allow him to see that there is as much ugliness, if not more, than there ever was, it's just entrenched and enculterated in the belief systems of more North Idahoans than you would want to believe. There is still at least one restaurant in Sandpoint that as recently as a couple of summers ago refused to serve an East Indian physician and his family due to the color of their skin.

By the way, you delinked me already! A personal best I must say. ;-)

Tara A. Rowe said...

Bob, I didn't mean to delink you... my apologies! Yes, you're right about DFO, he seems to be blind to hate where it is and seems to think by defeating the Aryans he has eradicated hate EVERYWHERE.