Stopping hate in groups and in individuals

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One of L-A’s proudest moments came in January 2003 when a handful of white supremacists crawled into town, were roundly rejected and left with their tails between their legs – meaning under tight police protection.

Matt Hale, pontifex maximus of the white separatist World Church of the Creator, was the scheduled speaker on Jan. 11.

But, on Jan. 8, Hale was arrested in Illinois for soliciting an undercover FBI informant to kill a federal judge.

The pontifex maximus is now serving a 40-year sentence in “prison maximus,” a federal lockup in Florence, Colo.

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Mainers have overwhelmingly given a cold shoulder to organized hate groups, and we don’t doubt the good people of Bucksport will do the same.

There, fliers bearing swastikas have appeared in public places, calling on young people “to reclaim U.S.A. soil to the white race.”

“The Bucksport Bay White Youth Pride Party” claims authorship.

Despite an upsurge in hate groups across the U.S. in the past decade — the Southern Poverty Law Center told the Bangor Daily News there are 932 in the U.S., including Nazis, Klansmen, neo-Confederates, racist skinheads and black separatists — Maine has had little such activity.

That’s not to say we’re not capable of less formal, unorganized hate, we are. There are no doubt scattered incidents of racial, religious and sexual identity intolerance committed every day.

It happens in schools, workplaces and in public places. It may not be as overt as a shouted taunt; it may be as subtle as a swastika carved into a bathroom stall or a note left behind a car’s windshield wiper.

While we are overwhelmingly tolerant people, it is many times easier to denounce groups of little Hitler wannabes than people in our own families or social circles.

The derogatory racial remark. The homophobic joke. The religious slur.

It’s good that we rally to reject outside haters, but we too often enable the quiet haters among us with our silence.

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