A response to Stu Lindberg’s Feb. 24 letter

Dear Editor,

I would like to refute Stuart Lindberg’s comments about the media and hate groups (The Shopper, Feb. 24, 2021). He claims the media perpetrates hysteria concerning the threat white nationalist and other hate groups pose to the country.

I applaud the bravery of the media who exposed themselves to danger while recording the insurrection of Jan. 6 for posterity. People in the U.S. and all over the world watched as the Capitol was breached for the first time in its history. We saw who was there, and yes we saw militia members, Proud Boys, Oath Keepers. They were there and they breached the Capitol.

Lindberg distorts the impact hate groups have on our country by cherry picking numbers and not addressing impact. Yes, the membership in the KKK has gone down, but the overall number of hate groups has grown, with most of the newer ones being racist. Hate crimes have increased. The FBI has warned the biggest domestic threat to the U.S. is domestic terrorism. Added to that is the impunity with which these groups operate. Trump gave them license to spew their doctrines of hatred. Lindberg’s comment about the “experts” saying there are only “…an estimated 9,200 philosophically committed militant racists” in the U.S. gives me pause. I would like to see that source. Who are the experts, how did they measure “philosophically committed”? Lindberg does not mention the role of the internet in spreading racist and anti-government hate messages. It took only one day for the Fox News lie about antifas and the insurrection to get mentioned 400,000 times. We also must consider the impact on the lone wolves who absorb this online hatred then go out and act on it. Remember Dylann Roof who killed nine Black people in church after he prayed with them? Then there is the congressman, Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) who gave a keynote address at a white supremacist event and retweets white supremacy ideology.

Lindberg thinks there has been a massive paradigm change in how we view one another. That is a tough one to measure and difficult for me to believe in light of recent events. Three Black women in Vermont have stepped down from leadership roles since 2018 because of racist insults and threats (a Vermont Legislator, a Hartford Selectboard member, and a chair of a regional NAACP organization). Voter suppression legislation aimed at Black voters is proliferating at a staggering rate. “Twenty-eight states have introduced, prefiled, or carried over 106 restrictive bills this year…” (Source: www.thenation.com/article/politics/republican-voter-suppression)

Lindberg also blames the media for making us think that anyone who has an opposing viewpoint is a Nazi, a bigot, or a racist. Remarks like that are meant to divide people and are an insult to intelligent people.

Hate groups are hate groups, and they are a threat to our existence as a democratic nation. Like Lindberg, you can tell your friends you love them, but why not consider contributing to groups that will fight against racism and hate groups. I suggest: Southern Poverty Law Center, ACLU, NAACP.


Char Osterlund

Springfield, Vt.

Back To Top