Freedom of speech is the sharp, thorny rose of democracy.
When the flower blooms, it is one of nature’s wonders. But there is no flower without the stem, and the stem is covered in pointy barbs that almost no one likes.
In other words, in order to preserve the rose, we have to protect the stem along with the thorns.
While speech that is offensive or even downright atrocious has to be protected, the method of distribution of foul or inappropriate speech is quite another.
In 2012, you’d think that the last thing we would have to endure are the ramblings of a bunch of neo-Nazi psychopaths claiming to be fighting for “white rights.”
But, alas, here we are.
To wit: Last weekend, I was tipped off about a filthy, racist newspaper sitting on the “community” rack of two local Kroger stores on Dixie Highway.
These racks are in the vestibule of the store and are accessible to everyone – even those who do not enter the store itself.
The issues – placed clandestinely – were in full view of security cameras.
When I arrived, I scanned the selection.
Apartments for rent.
A ‘Homes’ magazine.
On the right there were two copies of something called “The First Freedom,” emblazoned with the Confederate flag, and published by an elderly goon named Olaf Childress of Silverhill, Alabama (population 606).
Olaf Childress is described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a “neo-confederate,” but he looks more like a Nazi scumbag to me.
Internet message boards that deal with this type of weird idol-worship call Childress “a good patriot here in Alabama,” and say “The man Olaf is a true dissenter and true Alabamian.”
The “paper” rounds the bases in the World Series of Racism by equating blacks with apes, defining gays as “the sodomite lobby,” saying Jews are lying about the Holocaust and offering tips for home-schooling “Aryans.”
There are many more poorly edited and terribly written selections in this rotten rag, compiled from known hate websites and written by people who cannot use their given names because they are cowards.
It’s the Reuters of right-wing hate and bigotry.
One article refers to the “President” as being Kentucky’s own Jefferson Davis (dead since 1889), as if there were still a Southern confederacy.
There is much more in this thing that even I can bear to repeat, and my hands and spirit are worse for having picked it up – but someone had to throw them away.
The manager of the Valley Station Kroger confirms the papers have been dropped there in the past. “I throw those things away as soon as I see them,” he said.
He declined to comment on the frequency or number of issues dropped at the store and referred me to the corporate media relations people, who obviously do not work on weekends and refused to form a decent and proper reply to my questions, submitted via email.
While the manager could not comment on specifics, he did make sure that I understood the papers are about as welcome as a fart in a phone booth, telling me, “If I can ever catch them, well, that’s another story.”
This is not an attack on the Kroger Company. They seem to be doing what they can to the extent possible to prevent this type of hate speech from being distributed via their stores.
And although Kroger could probably do more (roll security videotape!), the real issue revolves around the gutless skanks who placed the papers at the store.
While they are free to be ignorant, I do not believe they are free to use Kroger stores as a means to distribute Nazi propaganda.
This is what we get for being complacent. This is what happens when we don’t have the courage to tell someone they’ve crossed the line. This is what we deserve for ignoring strangers who whine about “white rights.”
So, I have an idea.
I challenge anyone who subscribes to this ideology to have the balls to stand on a busy corner in Louisville and pass these papers out instead of secretly placing them inside a grocery store’s entryway.
Dropping the papers and fleeing like roaches when the lights come on isn’t anything but good, old-fashioned chickenshit behavior.
And I’d like to add a personal note to anyone secretly hoarding a copy of this trash: This is our neighborhood, and we don’t allow you slimy little weasels to “hit and run” like this.
Stand up, be a man and own your beliefs. Because if you’re going to be crazy, you have to go all the way.
These shady actions must stop.
And they will stop.