As the shady “Americans First, Task Force” announces two more anti-immigrant, anti-Islam hate fests—Ron Branstner returns September 22; Usama Dakdok comes to tell us all Muslims are terrorists on October 18—the Aberdeen American News blasts Branstner’s August 11 hate show as a cheap medicine show that degrades our community:
What happened Thursday at the Ramkota, for a crowd of nearly 200, was worse than “preaching to the choir.” It was the choir members talking among themselves, with no guidance or leadership or thoughtfulness.
That fostered the environment we saw, where a roomful of people shouted and cursed about what the people outside the room could do to our community to make it less safe, less like “home.”
…It is unfortunate that so many who say “not in my community,” or don’t want outsiders making decisions about Aberdeen, put so much stock into a salesman who splits his time between California and Minnesota. Someone who literally has no expertise or education in the field of immigration or the refugee crisis.
So sad that someone could prey upon the legitimate fears and concerns our residents have, bolster those fears, and offer no real solutions or compromise [editorial board, “Community Must Be Better than Refugee Argument,” Aberdeen American News, 2016.08.16].
AAN also publishes a letter from Greg Smith of Mina, who criticizes the paper’s so far superficial coverage of the anti-refugee rally. I reprint Smith’s letter in full, because his is the moral voice this community needs to hear:
With just a little bit of research, the American News would’ve been able to report more accurately that Ron Branstner not only was not surprised at the response he generated in Aberdeen, but that he routinely plays on people’s fears to stoke strong emotional responses.
More truthfully, Branstner thrives on dividing communities and inciting angry reactions. He offers no solutions. He allows no disagreement. He shouts down dissenters. Not surprising for someone who has no professional credentials, background or experience, other than his brand of self-taught, inflammatory rhetoric.
Do not give in to hatred and fear espoused by Branstner and his friends — it will only destroy you [Greg Smith, letter to the editor, Aberdeen American News, 2016.08.17].
Branstner’s further presence in our community will only stir bad feelings and bad press that will weaken Aberdeen morally and economically. More residents neighbors like Smith need to speak up against the fear and anger Branstner and his unnamed accomplices are stirring, and the Aberdeen American News needs to do more to explain and debunk Branstner’s numerous irresponsible accusations and lies.