The Associated Press has reported that 31 members of a white supremacist group were arrested in Idaho on Saturday for planning to riot during an organized pride event.
The story caught my eye because I used to live in Idaho, and I loved it. It’s a beautiful state. It also caught my eye because of the subject matter.
According to the report, CLICK HERE, Coeur d’Alene police were tipped off after someone saw the men pile into the back of a U-Haul truck at a hotel — “like a little army.” Yeah, that’s real smart.
After they were stopped, police found the men had riot gear, including a smoke grenade, shin guards and shields. A photo accompanying the AP article showed men with their faces covered and their wrists bound together in plastic zip ties behind their backs when they were arrested. One man was wearing a shirt with the words “Reclaim America” emblazoned on the back of it.
Well, isn’t that just great. Which America are they trying to reclaim? The “Liberty and Justice for All” one? Doesn’t seem like it. Seems like they want to make their own rules and with their own hateful liberty in mind — “an uninformed patriotism” — as Barry Howard wrote in an op-ed for Good Faith Media:
The phrase “for all” is inclusive, not discriminatory. “For all” means we aim to provide and protect liberty and justice for all individuals regardless of gender, race, economic status, political ideology, or religious background. To preserve liberty and justice for the privileged few is indicative of a shallow theology and an uninformed patriotism.
I am of the mindset of let people be what they are, who they are. If you’re not hurting anyone, live your life as you see fit. The same goes for these would-be rioters. They’re free to believe what they believe, despite what I think of it and how harshly I disagree. But once their aim becomes to hurt people, to infringe on the rights of others, to resort to violence, or even worse, murder, in order to fly their own brand of flag, count me out. I don’t want any of it. Nope.
And the bottom line is hate is just wrong. Right? But then again, I hate these people for being so hateful. So, am I wrong as well? Am I hypocrite? I don’t think I am. Maybe hate is too strong a word. I just don’t understand their mindset. Why is your focus on stepping on the necks of others? How do you feel joy in that? Why are you so enraged? And to target a pride event. Are you that threatened? Love is Love. And Hate is Hate. Which way are you going to go? How are you going to get to the disco? In a limo or a tank?
I don’t know what that last line means. It just came to me. I don’t know why, but I am having some trouble writing this article. I don’t know if it is because I am so disgusted by these people, or just plain disgusted by society in general, that I can’t fully release all the thoughts that I have cloistered within me. I am so exhausted by the division in this country, in the world. I’m so exhausted by the rhetoric and the misinformation and the dutiful ignorance. It derails my own focus. It derails my attempt at mindfulness. The world is a distraction to my own peace of mind.
I look at the picture that was attached to the AP article and all I see are cowards. They cover their faces with cloth. They shade their eyes with sunglasses. They consider themselves “soldiers”, but they are anything but. Their intent was to harm and disrupt, that much is clear. Who knows what would have happened in Coeur d’Alene if they had not been stopped? Thank goodness they were stupid.