No matter how cynical I get, I can't keep up.
Confronting Hatred in Idaho
UPDATED BELOW 6/13, 2:15 PM
Idaho has been branded as a haven for racists with the various groups who've deliberately chose Idaho because of its relative paucity of people of color. It began with the shameful notoriety of Richard Butler's followers, termed neo-nazis or Aryan Nations, that chose north Idaho as their base of operations. Other less notorious groups have chosen Idaho for similar reasons bringing their hatred with them which they'll share brazenly. But there are even more insidious, yet subtle examples of racism represented by large groups of suburban dwelling folks fleeing California and other states. They're easliy identified by their excuses for coming here, the crime rates and the liberal policies. It doesn't take much of a nudge to get them to willingly blame people of color as the underlying reason for the crime instead of the true culprits of poverty and hopelessness. They'll happily warn the natives here about it and caution us that they know better because they've lived through it implying we're just ignorant rubes.
The neo-nazis were removed from north Idaho, not through passively ignoring them, but by vigilant confrontation of them by Idaho citizens that rallied behind the cry the "Idaho is too Great for Hate". But just because they left doesn't mean the racism and hatred left with them. The racism just exists in a more subtle context with the occasional off color joke, the unthinking loose comment, or even an overheard slur. The hatred against whole a whole group of people still exists at a rapacious rate with Idahoans SHAMEFULLY ensconcing discrimination against gay people into our own Constitution. See the example by MGR of the consequences of continuing this folly. Unfortunately our tolerance of the intolerant allows these feelings and negative stereotypes to boil over into actual hatred and violence. Recently racism has reared its ugly head with the immigration debate resulting recently in this confrontation at the Minidoka High School. This still simmers down Burley way.
But now racism is again injected in the national debate with the candidacy of Barack Obama. There are many conservatives who'll do anything to demonize Obama. They will gladly punch the racism card to achieve these objectives. Just as Republicans marketed to their bases' deepest fears, locked deep in the reptilian parts of their brains, when campaigning that electing Democrats will result in a victory for the terrorists, they will also tap into those other negative emotions of racism and hatred to motivate Republicans to vote, not for their candidates, but against Obama. Just look at this list to know what we're up against.
As Serephin has posted this self described conservative radio/rodeo announcer has spewed this hatred over the airwaves seeking to capitalize on a cowardly email campaign by falsely spreading slurs about Obama's ethnicity, lies about his religion, and even impugns his momma's integrity. In the code of the West, them's fightin' words. Not surpisingly Zeb Bell fanned the hatred flames at the Minidoka High School incident mentioned above. Our own Miss Tara has lived within the sound of his radio show for years and warned of the bullshit this man has been free to spread, not to just his friends and neighbors, but over talk radio. Zeb's modus operandi is to vilify and then make apologetic gesures after the fact without ever actually apologizing as he did in the Minidoka High incident and is doing so here as well preferring to blame his guest, anti-immigration speaker Frosty Woolridge (where do they get these names?). He's seeking to capitalize on flamethrowing as a means for self promotion ala Coulter, Limbaugh, and Hannity. Its time to call bullshit on this maneuver.
So, just like in north Idaho this hatred must be confronted. The Constitution might protect Zeb Bell's speech, just as it did the neo-nazis, but that doesn't mean we can't exercise our own freedoms to express our displeasure. Zeb Bell has his own website here if'n you want to express yourself directly. Zeb has been enabled by his station's owners from whom he leases airtime. Second Zeb's also employed here as a realtor. They should also know how you feel. And the latest report discloses that one sponsor has fled the station and others are considering such a move. But Zeb's sponsors are behind him 100% according to Zeb. I really wanted to provide a list of sponsors to contact but alas nobody seems to have a website with that info. So I'm going to ask any and all in the Magic Valley to give a listen and provide a list so that I can supply their contact info.
And a final note. This call to arms isn't just in the context of Zeb Bell. As Chris points out we've all heard and seen hate filled misinformation about this campaign. Its a whisper campaign. Its up to each of us to confront it when we hear it no matter the source. Shame is the tool, lest it coat all of us in the end. Tara also has a very thoughtful piece here.
UPDATE: Silly me. Zeb lists his sponsors on his website here.
Contact info for the listed Les Schwab stores are here:
BURLEY T-W DBA TIRES WEST
2555 S Overland
Burley, ID 83318-2954
RUPERT MAGIC VALLEY TIRE
109 S 100 W Hwy 24
Rupert, ID 83350
PAUL MAGIC VALLEY TIRE
25 W Ellis
Paul, ID 83347
421 Blue Lakes Blvd N
Twin Falls, ID 83301-4830
TWIN FALLS NORTH
389 Poleline Rd
Twin Falls, ID 83301-3031
1848 S Lincoln Ave
Jerome, ID 83338-6138
1241 Burley Ave
Buhl, ID 83316-1888
When you contact Les Schwab remind them of their diversity policy.
I was unable to locate website info for Ramsey Heating and Electric. But I did note they seem to receive lots of government contracts. They might want to be careful they're not associated with hate speech involving the POTUS.