The following letter to the editor was published in the March 23, 2018 Purcellville Gazette.
So a member of the clergy isn’t very bothered by two neo-Nazis peppering private property of Loudoun residents with Nazi literature, but he adopts the view that the “hard, hard left” is abandoning “neighborliness” in favor of “agitation, propaganda, smear tactics, intimidation, speech-suppression, harassment, and violence.”
It is comforting that Rector Simmons believes recent Nazi literature arriving uninvited at residences in Loudoun is only limited to “two dopes” — a “couple of knuckleheads.” One wonders how he is so sure that this is the extent of the people holding and espousing such hateful, extremist views that he can criticize fellow clergy for raising an alarm.
Alan Dershowitz might not be concerned because Nazi views “have no resonance on university campuses today,” but it might be useful to recall that the rise of Nazis in Germany in the 1930s did not start on university campuses. At first, everyone thought Nazis and their alienated leader were outliers who would never have any real impact. That belief was catastrophically wrong. How did Nazis grow and maneuver their way into power? History teaches us it was an absence of serious focus on opposing their “agitation, propaganda, smear tactics, intimidation, speech-suppression, harassment and violence.” Sound familiar?
“Neighborliness” is not expressed by hateful messages delivered surreptitiously to our neighbors. Rector Simmons should join his clergy brethren in saying so loudly and avoid being complicitly silent just because he believes it is only two knuckleheadded dopes. Perhaps Rector Simmons should recall the words of a noted Lutheran pastor who was very experienced with what happens when dopey, knuckleheaded Nazi social/political beliefs go unrecognized and unapposed by early, full-throated condemnation…
“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out – Because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out – Because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out – Because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me – and there was no one left to speak for me.”
John D. Tew