From the August 1999 Idaho Observer:

North Idaho Hate Rally

Hate the hate, the hate

by Hari Heath

One of north Idaho's most incredible ironies is how people can be so easily manipulated into believing that one kind of hate is so bad that we must publicly oppose that kind of hatred by showing up in greater numbers to display more hatred than the haters. The irony deepens when the dominant media gives favorable press to the hate haters while villifying the original haters as if one form of hate is more desireable than the other. When are people going to realize that the fourth branch of government's purpose is to keep common people at each other's throats to provide cover for the real haters who are carving our country up into little pieces that are being salted away in off-shore bank accounts?

On Saturday, July 3, the Aryan Nations went head to head with the “Human Rights Task Force” and the Jewish Defense League in Coeur d'Alene City Park.

Richard Butler and his Aryan friends have for years attempted to promote and publicize their cause. While they have their beliefs, and in America that is their right, most people will find little to favor about people who have at best, a misguided view of history, and seek, in some manner, to celebrate one of the darkest era's of human conduct.

This is only made worse by their modern day foes, whose conduct made a mockery of what their name implies they are about. Protecting human rights and defending the Jewish people is not what happened in the City Park. Understandably, those who have suffered from the Nazi regime during WWII, and their family members, have good reason to oppose those who wish to celebrate the Nazi era. But adding fuel to an otherwise small fire only causes it to burn hotter.

The Aryans were denied a parade permit to march down Sherman Avenue by the City. Instead, they were granted a permit to march on Ramsey Road, past the city dump, on July 10.

The Aryans did not want to be pushed off to the dump, so they chose to rally in the City Park where no permit was needed. They made their plans known so their opposition could be there to greet them with the usual fanfare.

The Aryans recently had a conference at their compound. Their guests at the conference could join them on the 3rd, but would be leaving, so they wanted to have a parade while they still had strength in numbers.

There was a considerable police presence downtown before the 2 pm event. The Aryans said there would be a “surprise.”

The Human Rights Task Force and Jewish Defense League organizers from California showed up early and began making speeches from the stage in the park. Many of the anti-Aryan protesters carried signs and eventually broke out their hate-mantra battle hymns: “No Nazi's -- No KKK -- No fascist USA.” This, and other similar chants came from the “human rights” and “tolerance” crowd. And this was before the Aryans showed up.

It appears that both sides of this event co-organized it. Somehow, the Jewish Defense League leaders had knowledge of when the Aryan's, who were late, were coming. Orchestrated? For profit?

While the crowd awaited the Aryan arrival, two men of muscular build, in camo pants and sunglasses, appeared on the periphery of the crowd. They had ample Nazi symbols tattooed on them and nothing more than a stubble above their ears.

And the Hate began. The crowd began to circle them as the chanting escalated. The “human rights” protesters began hurling insults at them. Unable to speak over the noise, these two men just smiled and let the rabble rouse itself. National and local TV crews along with other reporters circled these men trying to elicit a story while the protesters increased their barrage of insults and chanting. Some of the protesters were visibly shaking with a visceral rage. And only two Aryans had showed up so far.

While the crowd was busy surrounding and hounding these two men, a contingent of the Aryans with banners and Nazi flags began marching from across the park towards the stage. Some of the protesters broke and ran to meet them, while others went to the stage. The Aryans marched towards the stage amid the jeers and insults, eventually forming a block in front of the stage.

The nearly continuous “No Nazi's -- No KKK -- No fascist USA” chant was met with an occasional “Seig Heil -- Seig Heil -- Seig Heil” Nazi chant, complete with a raised arm salute. During this intense verbal confrontation a few of the “human rights” protesters began spitting on some of the Aryans. To their credit, the Aryans maintained a disciplined composure in the face of direct insults and human saliva.

While the crowd was enraged and occupied at the stage, a second wave of Aryans began a march from across the park. They formed a wide line in the middle of the Park complete with banners and flags. The news crews managed to get a brief interview with one of the Aryan leaders before the other Aryans joined the second group and the protesters from the stage surrounded them in a circle of hate and noise. Both sides seemed intent on convincing the other that they were right and the other was wrong, even though both were predisposed to their own convictions.

The “human rights” protesters continued to hurl pointed insults like “Nazi scum” along with expletives and more saliva. Several younger male anti-Aryan protesters engaged in “in your face” verbal attacks, clearly attempting to provoke a violent response from the Aryans. Some of the younger Aryans appeared ready and able to meet the challenge, but in the end their discipline was stronger than the emotions of the moment.

In a seemingly well organized move, the Aryans broke formation from their wall in the middle of the Park with a flanking maneuver and ran for the stage. This time they won the “capture the stage” game. Richard Butler eventually addressed the crowd, against much protest, and then the Aryans went on their way back home.

There was a definite police presence, but to their credit they remained largely on the periphery of the Park and just let the event play itself out. A few police stood ready near the stage and several “undercover” policemen pretended to look like part of the crowd. Nice try guys and gals, but next time use better holsters to eliminate the pistol bulge, don't wear heavy coats on a hot day, and conceal the wires coming out of your ears.

So what was this North Idaho Hate Rally all about? Some misguided, mis-interpreters of a dark history trying to celebrate their cause? Human rights protesters trying to promote peace and tolerance with hate, verbal violence and human saliva?

If I had brought along a Hate-O-Meter the Jewish Defense League and their imported friends from the peace, love and freedom fraternity would have won the day. If such a thing is possible, the human rights protesters made the Aryans look good.

Except for all the noise, emotion and media coverage, this hate rally was a non-event. Next time a small fire of misguided foolishness comes to town, bring water, not fuel.

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Hari Heath

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