By: Savannah Smith | 12-28-2016 | News
Photo credit: Jerryway |

Montana Lawmakers Succumb To Community Pressure Against White Nationalists

Some top Montana lawmakers have crossed party lines and agreed with a common point in an open letter they signed warning a group they branded "neo-Nazis" that they would find " no safe haven" in their mountain town for a rally the group is organizing for next month that might also include carrying guns. The lawmakers' open letter of non-support - if not condemnation- for the rally expectedly will not deter the white nationalists' plans, neither does it paint a complete picture of the whole controversy that led to passionate calls to mount a big rally.

The lawmakers who signed the open letter include Rep.Ryan Zinke, recently chosen by President-elect Donald Trump to be the interior secretary, Montana Governor Steve Bullock, U.S. senators Republican Steve Daines and Democrat Jon Tester, and Republican Attorney General Tim Fox.

White nationalists residents plan to march in January in the mountain ski town of Whitefish in Montana in support of the mother of white nationalist leader Richard Spencer. Sherry Spencer recently opened a business in Whitefish but received heated opposition and mounting pressure from some residents who want to force her to denounce her son's beliefs or sell her property should she refuse to do so. Residents held a vigil and protest earlier this month in front of Spencer's building.

The lawmakers who signed the letter offering " no safe haven" for white nationalists rallying behind Spencer probably believe that they are espousing religious tolerance and merely responding to the calls of white supremacist website Daily Stormer urging its readers in an article to " take action" against Jews leading the pressure on Spencer in the Whitefish area. In the said article, the Daily Stormer called for an old fashioned " Troll Storm" against residents and even published their names and phone numbers, with yellow Jewish stars superimposed on their pictures. Some residents were also reportedly alarmed by the corresponding call of the group to bring high-powered rifles into the rally since Montana gun laws permit doing so.

Richard Spencer in an interview with the Washington Post clarified the matter and set things in their proper perspective. He said that his mother met with Tanya Gersh, the activist leading the protests against his mother on November 22 in an attempt to resolve the issue. However, Gersh continued to exert pressure on Sherry Spencer threatening her that if she did not sell her property, 200 protesters including national media would turn up at her property and such " would drive down the property value" until she complied.

Gersh also made outrageous demands should Spencer agree to a sale, conditions that are leaning practically close to extortion making it nearly impossible to come to an agreement. Gersh specifically asked Sherry Spencer to denounce her son's beliefs via a statement that will be prepared by the Montana Human Rights Network; and second, make a donation to the said organization from the sale of the property.

Richard Spencer said his mother kept quiet about the meeting and did nothing for weeks, but it was Gersh who came out again publicizing the property and giving an interview with CNN presenting herself as the " little victim". It is only after Gersh's noise and publicity frenzy that the Daily Stormer responded and called on its readers and followers to show support for Richard Spencer's mother. Andrew Anglin then launched the ' troll storm'. Spencer clarified that his mother does not even know Daily Stormer, and by herself prefers civil and polite discourse.

The alt-right movement writer and activist, however, is standing his ground for the Daily Stormer and its followers since they are breaking no laws and no one is being physically attacked. Spencer also underscored that Anglin and company are merely expressing their opinions, however passionate or blunt the manner may be. Spencer said that he could not disavow Anglin and company, because to disallow such speech might lead to the end of all speech that someone might find offensive.

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