Letter to the Editor: St George News columnist ‘fans the flames of hate’

Photo by Poike/iStock/Getty Images Plus; St. George News

OPINION — Over the years Democrats have done some dumb things. Republicans as well have done some dumb things. Over the years, they both have done some good things. Over the years Liberals and Conservatives have done some dumb things. They both have done some good things.

In the past, Democrats, Republicans, Liberals and Conservatives have been able to work together to solve the problems and exploit the opportunities of our country. Unfortunately, today there is such an animosity and antagonism between these groups that the ability and desire to care for our country and its citizens has become nearly impossible. The polarizations among these groups has become so severe that bringing them together seems beyond resolution.

The gap between these groups has been widened by people like Howard Sierer, the opinion columnist for St. George News. In its August 10 issue, the News provided a platform for his hateful and divisive vitriol.

Read more: Right On: The neo-fascist face of the Democratic Party

I believe in the 1st Amendment of our Constitution and the freedom of speech but some of Sierer’s speech is hateful. Hate speech is not protected by the Constitution. That is because it is proven to incite violence.

I appreciate that the News claims Sierer’s “…opinions… are his own and may not be representative of St. George News.” However, the News should be more discreet in printing some of the hate speech in his columns. It incites hate, furthering our divide.

I’ve waited for nearly a week to present my opinion and criticism for fear of becoming the focus of hate speech and possible harm (which, I’ll admit, is a sad state-of-affairs.) The actions in Charlottesville this past weekend emboldened me to speak out. I cannot condone the violence that occurred there and am appalled by the actions, speech and goals of the KKK, white-supremacist, neo-Nazis and neo-fascists; the latter being the term Sierer chooses to call me and other Democrats.

Sierer cites several books in his column that define fascism.  At least two, and the most prominent among his citations, have Nazi swastikas emboldened on their covers. While I admit to not having read the books he cites; I can’t believe how many definitions of neo-Nazism I have found that embrace white supremacist, nationalist, anti-Semitic, and fascist beliefs.

He offers several actions of college students and others that he describes as neo-fascists or, to quote him “…Neo-fascist Democrats…”  I’ll admit, some may have been anarchist, who support anarchism, which is as bad as many other extreme-isms. However, in some of the examples he cites, the students were exercising their 1st Amendment rights.

Some of his examples were taken out of context. They sure as hell cannot be labeled as Democrats or liberals any more than the alt-right, KKK, neo-Nazi and other hate activists who protested in Charlottesville could be labeled Republicans or conservatives.

I would not condone the actions of any students who have damaged property and prevented free speech on their campuses. And, I know it has happened. Neither would I condone the violence of a person believed to hold neo-Nazi, extremist ideology and racist beliefs who killed two men by slitting their throats and stabbed another on a mass transit train in Oregon.

The three men had come to the defense of two teenage girls, an African-American and a Muslim who the killer was harassing with racial, hateful remarks.  The month before he had been filmed at a rally giving the “Heil-Hitler,” Nazi salute. Nor would I condone the actions of a white nationalist who plowed his car into protesters in Charlottesville killing a woman and injuring nearly 20 people.

This behavior has gone too far and the language of people like Howard Sierer fans the flames of hate, bigotry and division of the people of our country. I’m sorry to see St. George News serve as a platform for such vitriol.

I have no problem with Sierer being a columnist for the News but, in the future, I hope the News will read his copy before it is published and encourage him to clean up his language.

Written by JOHN HUNT, Ivins

Letters to the Editor are not the product or opinion of St. George News and are given only light edit for technical style and formatting. The matters stated and opinions given are the responsibility of the person submitting them.

Email: news@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

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30 Comments

  • Henry August 16, 2017 at 12:49 pm

    When I saw the title of this article, I thought the St George News columnist in question would be Ed Kociela. LOL. I hope author John Hunt has the same feelings about Ed as he does about Howard Sierer. I can cite as many incendiary comments from Ed as I can from Howard.

    Hunt’s admonishment for the SG News editors to “encourage him (Sierer) to clean up his language” sounds like the introduction of editorial intimidation and censorship – which I don’t believe appropriate for Sierer or Kociela.

    • lakers0881 August 16, 2017 at 5:38 pm

      My thoughts exactly, well said.

    • johncmiller August 16, 2017 at 6:46 pm

      Amen brother!

      • mesaman August 16, 2017 at 8:43 pm

        Ditto!

        • comments August 16, 2017 at 10:58 pm

          this stock photo reminds me of mesaman when he realizes he only exists because of gov’t welfare socialism.

          • mesaman August 17, 2017 at 9:31 pm

            Coming from a perpetual welfare recipient you should be a genius at explaining the welfare system. With Bammie Bojangles gone you may even have to get a job; noticed I didn’t use the four letter word, “work”.

          • comments August 19, 2017 at 12:08 am

            “Coming from a perpetual welfare recipient you should be a genius at explaining the welfare system.”

            m&m, don’t you see how ironic it is that u say that. YOU are a perpetual welfare recipient. YOU parasite off my tax dollars. Some day soon you’ll be off the books, one less burden for the gov’t to feed.

    • comments August 16, 2017 at 10:55 pm

      Honestly, I thought it would be about Ed Kociela as well. hahahah

  • desertgirl August 16, 2017 at 12:58 pm

    See John, your opinion. The ongoing destruction of America is due to the gradual acceptance of totalitarian influence and the violent tactics it spreads. The absolute refusal of the progressive west in denying the disease spread by haters of free speech, personal liberty and promoting ‘group think. The denial of history and the eagerness to bury it and burn it down as if it would change anything. We are on our way to burning books, and camps thanks to the very people you support and defend. When any of us or our loved ones are murdered or our life detrimentally changed by another person, we do not care what creep group or political affiliation the perp belongs to; the result is the same. Remarkably, people like you choose your fave violent anarchists and cold-blooded haters and murderers. Your stories are sad, so are the many others that happen and you look the other way. Want a list? It is much longer than yours. But that is okay with you and your progressive whiners. Keep supporting BLM, Antifa, Pussy Brigades, Media Matters, Huffy Post, and the rest of the paid totalitarian megalomaniac George Soros sheep. I hope you are young enough to suffer the horrid results of your fascist acceptance or destroying or defending people taking down the free world. btw You don’t have half the insight Mr Stiers possesses or the honesty.

    • Chris August 16, 2017 at 3:47 pm

      Your writing is almost as bad as Howard Sierer’s, and you can’t even spell Howard’s name right. Sad!

    • mctrialsguy August 17, 2017 at 3:01 pm

      Well said!

  • Stephen Joe August 16, 2017 at 1:34 pm

    Good LTE John. I am amused that Howard Sierer actually believes the BS he spews.

  • stg-anon August 16, 2017 at 2:31 pm

    Glad I wasn’t the only one horrified by the hate and ignorance on proud display on this site last week

  • DudePolitic August 16, 2017 at 2:47 pm

    So after reading this letter I went back and reread Sierer’s column twice more to try and find his “incendiary” hate speech. Sierer cites several instances of behavior that clearly favors liberal thinking. Mr. Hunt takes offense to Sierer’s linking the behavior to the Democratic party. Somehow that turns Sierer’s opinion into hate speech. I have to admit Mr. Hunt’s letter is a head scratcher. Perhaps he should read Mr. Kociela’s columns and give a viewpoint. While I don’t agree with Mr. Kociela’s views, I certainly would not label them “hate speech”. But his conclusions take much greater leaps than Sierer’s. The Antifa, the BLM movement, the obstruction of 1st amendment practices on college campuses are all products of the left. President Obama never did, nor do I think he ever will, call out those destructive movements. The MSM gave him a pass, as well as giving the same pass to Schumer, Pelosi, Perez, Clinton, and other leading democratic leaders. However, when Donald Trump calls out the hatred from both of the movements involved he is harangued endlessly by the left and the MSM (I differentiate b/t the two, though the MSM is actually part of the left). And when someone like Mr. Sierer calls out these actions, and cites several examples to back up his opinion, the typical liberal response is to play the victim. How about recognizing these dangerous movements for what they are and calling them out in unison with everyone else who has displayed commmon sense? I deplore the KKK, the Nazi movement, and any other movement that displays racist and/or hateful actions. Just because these groups vote a certain way does not mean that the people they vote for espouse the same ideals.

    Today on Chuck Schumer’s Twitter account he posted, “By saying he is not taking sides, Donald Trump clearly is. When David Duke and white supremacists cheer, you’re doing it very very wrong.” Stupid, stupid, stupid. It would be the same as the right saying “When Antifa and BLM cheer for you, you are doing it very very wrong.” Associating hateful movements to politicians that clearly do not associate with that movement is political witchcraft. And to call Sierer’s column “hate speech” falls into that same malappropriation.

    • Real Life August 16, 2017 at 5:25 pm

      I’m with this dude.

  • Ray August 16, 2017 at 3:30 pm

    Wow I just had to log in after reading this so called opinion …of the pot calling the kettle black… one word…hypocrisy!

  • comments August 16, 2017 at 3:34 pm

    I despise both the repub and the dem parties. They’re both filth. Howard is a bit of a clown and I’ve learned not to take him seriously, esp after he outed himself as a globalist sympathizer. I’m not a fan of pres. trump, but I’m happy to see him sticking up for white people lately. We get tired of being told by leftists and the msm that all we are is evil oppressors. LOL, what was this article even whining about, again? I read the whole diatribe but I’ve simply just forgotten it. If it had any good points it would be memorable. I guess the gist of it: Howard Sierer is a clown. Yes yes, I agree. Still, he can be entertaining, very hit and miss tho. Same with Kociela. 😉

  • comments August 16, 2017 at 3:36 pm

    oh, good job w/ the stock photo. hahah

  • Sapience August 16, 2017 at 3:46 pm

    Mr Hunt said “Hate speech is not protected by the Constitution. That is because it is proven to incite violence.”
    He is just plain wrong.
    In Matal v. Tam the Supreme Court unanimously reaffirmed there is no ‘hate speech’ exception to the First Amendment.
    From the opinion by Justice Samuel Alito (for four justices) in Matal v. Tam:
    [The idea that the government may restrict] speech expressing ideas that offend … strikes at the heart of the First Amendment. Speech that demeans on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, age, disability, or any other similar ground is hateful; but the proudest boast of our free speech jurisprudence is that we protect the freedom to express “the thought that we hate.”

    • John August 17, 2017 at 10:32 am

      Free speech is protected..but remember that your free speech has consequences so choose your words wisely

  • Kilroywashere August 16, 2017 at 3:58 pm

    Fan the flames of hate, really? My assumption is that perhaps < 500 if not < 200 folks read article in its entirety. Defining it as hate speech is YOUR JUDGEMENT. Free speech , or perhaps another side's perspective, you clearly got it all wrong. No hate here. I see it as making a mountain out of a molehill. Which is your right of course, however the truth as we all know is fleeting, and your letter is confiirmation.

  • Brian August 16, 2017 at 4:12 pm

    Un-freaking-believable. Your entire thesis is based on drawings on book covers that you haven’t read, cracked open, or investigated AT ALL.

    The most prominent book cited, “A History of Fascism” by Stanley G. Payne has all 5-star ratings on Amazon with the exception of a single 2-star rating who’s author states: “I detected a definite bias on the part of the author against fascism in general and National Socialism in particular.” In other words, “his book sucks because I agree with National Socialism (aka Nazi’s) and he doesn’t”. Almost ALL of Payne’s books are have 4.5+ star ratings on Amazon, and all were written before the world lost its mind.

    You also have a problem with him using the phrase “Neo-fascist Democrats” when he cites specific examples of the previous Democrat administration using clearly fascist techniques to try to gain and maintain power over its “enemies”, which IS fascist. So if you prefer we can use the term “Democrats using neo-fascist techniques on an incredibly regular basis”.

    I’ll admit the jury is still out on Sierer for me, but there wasn’t anything wrong with that article, and St George News has nothing to apologize about for publishing it.

  • Proud Rebel August 16, 2017 at 4:20 pm

    I wonder just what this writer would say, if SG News decided to censor his letter! I’ll bet he would be the loudest complainer around.
    Think about it, John. Give a lot of honest honest thought to what you are asking here.
    It doesn’t matter if you like or hate what the different columnists have to say. When you start advocating censorship from a news media, you truly are stepping all over the Constitution.
    I’m not a big fan of Mr. Sierer. Nor am I a big fan of Mr. Hyde. Nor of Mr. Kociela. But all of these gentlemen have the right to put forth their opinions, just as you and I have a right to put forth ours.
    These folks write stuff I totally disagree with. But they also write stuff I totally agree with. And they write columns that are a bit of each.
    God help us, and this nation if censorship becomes the norm for news outlets.

  • dhamilton2002 August 16, 2017 at 8:58 pm

    For those of you who express your opinions on both sides: The only ones who deserve anyone’s attention are the people who have the guts to put their real names on their work. I refuse to even read the comments from those who aren’t brave enough to identify themselves.

    Doug Hamilton

    • comments August 17, 2017 at 12:42 pm

      So essentially you only read your own comments? Crybaby

  • high5 August 17, 2017 at 7:16 am

    Ha!! Thought it was Eddie😂😂😂🙃too!!
    They both need to go away😐

  • commonsense August 17, 2017 at 7:33 am

    Howard’s last piece was right on and not inflammatory. Ed is an outsider with much distain for local culture and politics. Does this paper really want Ed representing it?

  • mctrialsguy August 17, 2017 at 9:33 am

    I agree with commonsense’ comments. Also, do not forget that the Democratic Party started the KKK in the South to counteract Lincoln’s (republican) wanting to free the slaves, the hatred started there with the division of America between the parties.

  • mctrialsguy August 17, 2017 at 1:10 pm

    Hate is an awful thing, but so is biased and faulty reporting. I was just reading ABC, NBC & CNN internet news and all they do is promote hate and lies about Donald Trump. Funny that they gave nothing but kudos to Barack Hussein Obama…and he did a lousy and racially biased job. Double-standard and hypocrisy at it’s worst. United We Stand, and Divided We Fall. We should now be renamed the Divided States of America. We give more and more to illegal immigrants just so that they will vote for the party filling their pockets. America has sold out for votes, and for not honor or patriotism. Scary & sad!

    • ladybugavenger August 17, 2017 at 7:06 pm

      I agree that Obama divided this country. That’s why Trump is President and you see all the hate and violence and riots and burning of the flag by those obama fans. Shame shame shame.

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