Searching for Richard Spencer: What I Found in a Small Montana Town at the Center of a White Nationalist Troll Storm

Comments

1
Bravo, Eli. Wonderful piece.
3
Well written, very chilling article, Eli.
4
@2 You are what's wrong with this country.
5
Eli, you have done some great work, and this is up there in the mix.

Will you by any chance be on the scene for MLK Day? If the neo-Nazis are just trolling, I'd love to see a dispatch from the people of Whitefish that doesn't focus on the trolls. If they do show up, I'd love to see their rhetorical asses kicked.
6
That quote from the police chief is pretty goddamn awesome.

Regarding victim hierarchy: I don't believe the author when he says he doesn't want to judge it because judging it is what gives him the moral high ground to attack Spencer's mother. It allows people to justify their actions towards Sherry.

I also think the hierarchy as explained by the author lacks intersectional context. It's not accurate to say those attacking Sherry are pressuring her to stand against hateful speech and white supremacy. They are pressuring her to stand up against her son and that relationship blurs this victim hierarchy. If Sherry is the type of parent who takes a family-first approach (which is not uncommon or radical, but completely pragmatic and morally sound) the attackers are punishing her for a belief and value she cannot change. That kind of an attack moves her up the victimization scale, it's no longer a false equivalency but a very fair comparison.

I have a son. I'd like to think I'd shun him if he pulled this shit. Actually, I'd like to think I'd raise him to be the kind of adult who avoids these deplorable beliefs all together. I'd also like to think that at some point in time, my son's actions become his own and that right, wrong or otherwise I can keep him as my son regardless of his decision making.

This whole thing is a mess. I feel for Sherry as a parent and the good citizens of Whitefish. Shame on Richard Spencer for creating this pain.
7
Great article!
8
@6

I don't think anyone expects Sherry Spencer to disown her son. My own mother would never disown or disavow me. Her love is unconditional and she's the best mother I could ask for. But she would NEVER allow me to use her address or resources for the purpose of racist organizing.

Nobody is telling her she can't celebrate Xmas with her son. I would never ask that of a parent no matter how despicable I felt their progeny was. She can, however, refuse to aid his political and ideological views and actions. And I don't think it's wrong for her standing in the community to be called into question by doing otherwise.
9
The top of BIG MOUNTAIN home of the whitefish resort. Big Mountain, damn it! :)
10
What a self-evidently deplorable piece of shit.

Great article, Eli. I also enjoyed the Blabbermouth where you, Dan and Rich discussed this, and I look forward to the live one. And good luck to you, that you were able to get out of the Flathead without trouble on wheels. It took me over two days (and as many cancelled flights), and finally required that I catch the train from Whitefish.

As @9 said, as a Flathead Valley native, the use of "Whitefish Mountain" was like an off-key note in my ear, each time I read it.

Off-topic, but what is the weird correlation between ophthalmologists named Rand being related to racists? (Though in this case, I have every expectation that Mr Spencer is an actual licensed ophthalmologist.
11
@8 I didn't say Sherry's attackers are asking her to disavow her son, I said they're asking her to choose other people over her son. Nor did I saw it was wrong for the community to attack her, the community and others may think her family first approach is wrong. I simply believe that the victim hierarchy described by the author isn't accurate given the relationship of the victim (Sherry) and the person she's supporting.
12
Haters always play the victim. It's integral to their pathos.

Trolls feed on hate. Don't feed the trolls.

I don't approve of the local man telling Spencer to go fuck himself. But I understand. To that man, I would offer: You'll never cure hate with hate. Then I would buy him lunch and listen.
13
The left is really amazing. They can condemn anti-Semitism from the right in Montana but not anti-Semitism on the left in this very city. The attack on Bernie and the harassment of a Jewish owned business in the CD are two examples. BLM protests in Seattle have involved anti-Jewish rhetoric. The NAACP and Africatown have been involved in the harassment of this Jewish owned business. The founder of Africatown told the owner he should go back to Germany "because they knew how to treat you people". And this anti-Jewish hatred is subsidized by the city of Seattle. This crap is not condemned because of who is doing it. But left white rightwingers in another state do it and you are all over it. God you people are slimy and dishonest.
14
TYPO: But let white rightwingers...
15
Please watch Richard Spenser's version of the events behind Eli Sanders' sanctimonious hit piece here: him https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lo21-mTY…
16
Flathead went 37% for Obama McCain 59% in 2008, 65% for Romney in 2012,
Not exactly a Pro Trump spot just a lot of Republican Team Players
17
A writer who describes "free speech laws" as being "more permissive" in the US than in Europe - it's a right recognized by law in the US and they have no substantial laws doing that in Europe - is more dangerous than, and perhaps almost as demented as, Richard Spencer.