Imagine a sunny coastal day at the Saturday Market in Ilwaco, Wash., or Sunday in Astoria, enjoying the tranquility of a friendly community, only to be shocked by the presence of Nazi uniformed neighbors, handing out hate-filled literature.
Imagine a market which sees its attendance fall dramatically as the word gets out that the Nazis have taken over. Imagine watching the Aryan Nations march in their jackboot-shod feet at the Loyalty Days Parade or the Regatta Parade. Imagine what the Aryan Nations, living in our region, will do to the peace, the quality of life and the economy of both Pacific (Wash.) and Clatsop counties.
A nightmare, yes; reality, a distinct possibility, thanks to the unbridled selfishness of the owners and manager of the Moby Dick Restaurant and oyster farm on the Long Beach (Wash.) Peninsula. I don't pretend to understand the environmental conflict over the removal of spartina grass. do know, however, that people of good will have differences, and that in the end a decision will be made which will not please everybody.
Manager of the Moby Dick, Keith Stravrum, has acknowledged that he has threatened that the Moby Dick will be sold to the Aryan Nations if the county does not stop spraying near his oyster beds. In an April 15 telephone interview with the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the paper writes that the owner, Fritzie Cohen, "declined to rule out that she is negotiating with the Aryan Nations to sell the hotel." Cohen is also quoted as saying, in relationship to the community, "I don't feel a real sense of commitment to what they perceive as their well-being."
Only a fool would assume that a pointed gun is unloaded. We must take Cohen's threat to unleash a human toxin seriously. Just who are the Aryan Nations? I would strongly urge all to Google the name. These are people who worship at the shrine of Adolph Hitler, and wish to carry out his murderous ways to eliminate all but "White Aryans" from the Pacific Northwest. They hate and wish to destroy Jews, African Americans, gays and others whom they view as inferior. They were run out of Idaho, and have been recently trying to establish themselves in Grant County, where the people have presented a fierce resistance. Are they now considering our region? We must assume so.
In 1992, the people of Clatsop County rallied together to remove the toxic presence of Nazi skinheads. If necessary, Clatsop and Pacific counties can, and must, do it again. Right now, we must condemn the outrageous behavior of the owner and manager of the Moby Dick by the strongest lawful means. We must never allow the the hate and murderous ways of Neo-Nazis to gain a foothold in our towns.
Our communities are blessed with diversity of people and opinions. All must speak out, regardless of whether you are on the political left, right or center; regardless of religion or gender identification. Let us maintain our communities as safe places where differences are respected.