From: Terry Whittaker
I am writing in response to Larry Jackson’s recent letter to the editor titled “Group Playing into the Hands of Neo-Nazis.” In it, Mr. Jackson takes to task the organizations who gathered at the Not In Columbus forum for giving publicity to “a small group of despicable white supremacists.” He then goes on to ask, “Is this a veiled attempt by Columbus’ liberal community to paint political conservatives as Nazi sympathizers if they choose not to jump on their ridiculous politically-correct bandwagon. Could we be witnessing the birth of Columbus’ thought police?”
Somehow Mr. Jackson sees more of a threat to Columbus from the hundreds who attended the forum than the white supremacists in our midst. He also turns the discussion into a liberal versus conservative argument. My view of the audience who attended the forum were that they represented citizens from across the political spectrum, including our mayor.
The new white supremacist groups are not like those of old. They do not wear hoods and willingly give their names. They are increasingly sophisticated in their recruiting, trolling the internet for sites frequented by young white males who may be susceptible to their message. We ignore them at our peril. History is rife with examples of causes and individuals thought to be to extreme to be taken seriously who have subsequently risen to power.
I would suggest that Mr. Jackson consider attending any open meeting of the groups sponsoring the Not In Columbus initiative to become part of the discussion. Now more than ever we need to talk with, not at, each other.