Ira Kortum:Dismiss the cowards who hide behind scarves

There is a movement in our country today, a movement that goes unheeded and unknown. This movement is allowed to happen because these groups are so small, most of the time in the size of no more than one person, and what they do is so little that no one seems to take notice. So the things that these groups of one say are seen and known, and yet not debated, go unchallenged. Who are these groups, these people? They’re the ones who write aggressive and slanderous statements about Katie Harman, Oregon’s former Miss America, just because they didn’t like the idea of her being the commencement speaker at graduation for that year. One flier suggested graduating students read a book or quietly do something in form of protest. That was a nice touch.

They’re the ones like our chalk-writing homophobic friend of last week. They’re the ones you see at protests wearing scarves across their faces so you can’t see who they are, which is important, especially while they let you know their political position and agenda by spray painting peace symbols on streets and buildings. The list goes on and on and on. Now, these people, and make no mistake about this, are COWARDS.

They may think, in some twisted way, that they’re serving a cause, a part of some underground what-have-you that lurks in mystery. Nope, cowards, all of them. It’s not about making the world a better place or about opening people’s eyes to a situation. It’s about being able to anonymously hate without fear of recrimination or debate. “You’re a protesting fag,” or “You didn’t graduate, and what about the women’s suffrage movement, that makes me anti Miss America and anti Katie Harman.” (Most complaints about Katie were by men. How would men know about women’s suffrage? Go figure.)

Or, “PEACE, PEACE, PEACE, now how do I get that one across, hmmmm? Flag, check. Lighter fluid, check. Spray can, check.” Nameless and faceless, it’s not about debate, discussion, compromise. It’s not about coming together as a people, putting ourselves at risk to make this place we live better. It’s about having excuses to do what one wants and rationalizing in some way as some great and noble cause. Could there ever be a larger insult to those who do have the courage to hang it all out there? Those who walked in the protest with their anti-Bush anti-war signs and their faces exposed, maybe? People like Dr. Martin Luther King, who found his cause and then put himself in harm’s way for it. Then the countless hundreds, thousands, anyone who has ever dared to go above the norm, against the grain, choose your comparison, and then put their name to it. Maybe there is a bigger insult. But it can’t be by much.

The writings of hate mongers and cowards cannot be ignored. That’s how it works its way into our lives and societies. We look over it, and yet our subconscious still picks it up, puts it away and adds just that much more weight to our lives. No. What we need to do is see these writings, see them for what they truly are, the work of the dilettantes, the cowards, the ignorant and hateful, and THEN forget what was written, or said or done. Then the power is gone, the writings have been weighed and judged accordingly, then for most of us, dismissed. And the people, who write such things, are dismissed as well.