A letter to the editor on August 26 was indicative of the radicalism that is tearing our country apart. If we cannot bear to allow others to live, work and shop in our community, then how can we stay together as a country? This is not an endorsement or defense of any particular belief system. This is a call for true tolerance, which is in very short supply in Bloomington right now.
First, the owners of Schooner Creek Farm are not “neo-Nazis.” They deny being white supremacists. That particular allegation should have been scrubbed from the letter to the editor. It is unethical to print a letter with an accusation that is at best questionable. This was a major lapse by the Herald-Times.
To argue that allowing Schooner Creek to peacefully sell vegetables to consenting adults is “racist” ignores the fact that city government is legally prohibited from banning vendors from the market because of their beliefs. One does not have to support or agree with anyone’s beliefs to allow them to peacefully sell vegetables. There are other vendors I disagree with, including those who support the abominable practice of abortion. This does not mean they should be excluded from the market.
Furthermore, the “all or nothing” mentality excludes any possibility for disagreement or independent thought. If you disagree, you are a “racist,” full stop. The argument could have been that non-racists are enabling racists by advocating for a market free from interference by government and protected from thuggery, but that was not the argument. The argument was that disagreement with forcibly removing Schooner Creek Farms from the market is racist. Let me be clear: This is how you got Trump. The 2016 election was in large part a rebellion against this kind of radicalism by the Left.
Even worse, classifying any belief system – no matter how immoral – as an incitement to violence is in itself an incitement to violence. After all, if beliefs are violence, then violence is justified in response to those beliefs as necessary self-defense. But violence never occurs in a vacuum. Violence begets violence, and when a group of radical “Antifa” thugs are acting violently, the people targeted will become violent as a necessary means of self-defense – or worse, “alt right” idiots will then show up itching for a street battle as we have seen elsewhere. Government’s refusal to restore order creates violence, and Mayor Hamilton knows it.
This could have been so much easier and less divisive. Simply stand outside of the market handing out buttons and flyers urging boycotts of the vendors you dislike, and educate people about why “identitarianism” is bad. But by vandalizing private property, taking over public streets, sending black-clad masked thugs to intimidate people at the market and threatening violence, “Antifa” and the radical Leftists who support them have made any sort of reasonable discussion with them impossible.
There is no reason it ever had to go this far, and it will likely get worse.