Yet another dismal Aryan Nations parade has come and passed in characteristic anticlimactic form. Even my 12-year-old daughter was amazed. "All this security for these 27 guys?"

But beyond the heavy-handed, very costly security, and beyond even the fact of the semi-annual Butler Days parades, lies the truer issue for our Inland Northwest region: the absence of any sort of Coeur d'Alene based critical mass standing in protest of the White Supremacist presence in our community.

Bigotry is an issue that will never die so long as those who claim to be battling for tolerance are afraid of confrontation or retaliation. And without assembling a solid body of protestors, peaceful, silent or otherwise, we as a community are turning our backs on the issue of bigotry, intolerance and hate.

Perhaps even more damaging is the way this passivity plays on media outside our region. Passivity translates as apathy, which in turn is interpreted by readers and viewers as tacit agreement with the tenets of the White Supremacy movement. And the image of our region as disseminated in the mass press around the world is something we can't afford to have sullied, dependent as we have become on tourism dollars and on attracting new businesses from elsewhere in the country.

Think about it. How good does our community look when the official stance against the White Supremacist movement is "just ignore them and they'll go away?" If ignoring the bully in the first grade was ineffective at protecting milk money, then why do we now think that ignoring Butler and his boys will be effective in driving him out of our community?

Butler managed to completely shut down downtown Coeur d'Alene for six hours with his bogus demonstration. So now Butler not only owns the streets, but we've officially given him control over merchant and business economics for the first half of a Saturday.

I find the fact that we as a community were dissuaded from staging any sort of a protest, peaceful or otherwise, to be very telling. Perhaps not of the true feelings toward bigotry in our community, but most definitely of the bleeding apathy and abject fear present here, that allows Butler and his rag-tag band of toothless inbreeds to have Coeur d'Alene by the balls.

Somehow I think we should be stronger than this. & &

& & Bridget Campbell -- Coeur d'Alene, Idaho & &

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