My day ends on a happy note: some of my fellow South Dakotans had the good sense to disinvite out-of-state anti-Muslim conspiracy mongerer Ron Branstner and other peddlers of xenophobic nonsense from a public shows.
The Sioux Falls History Club somehow fell for Branstner’s nonsense and invied him to speak to their group this evening. Branstner used the m.o. of other national alt-right white supremacist dog whistlers, claiming that he was coming to hold a “free speech rally“:
Paige Carda, the group’s president, said the club booked the event with the understanding that Branstner would hold a book signing and discussion on the erosion of free speech.
“We looked into the event and learned that what they wanted to do was not what they had told us they were going to do,” Carda said. “We made a decision to rescind the contract because those messages do not match up with our positions or with our mission to promote diversity” [Dana Ferguson, “Sioux Falls History Club Says It Won’t Host Anti-Islam Speaker,” that Sioux Falls paper, 2017.10.26].
Branstner’s Sioux Falls hate fest was promoted by one Sara Timothy and a group calling itself “Right Angle Events of South Dakota.” Right Angle is also promoting a similar fear-mongering program from Philip Haney and James Simpson that was scheduled for November 4 at the History Club. Evidently the History Club has canceled that event as well.
Anti-Muslim rumor-peddler Senator Neal Tapio calls the cancellation “fascism.” Senator Tapio, who’s just mad he lost a chance to recruit more brownshirts for his U.S. House campaign, is in error: the cancellation is the free market at work, with the private History Club operating its private hall as it sees fit and choosing not to host the real fascists who would violate the History Club’s own commitment to factual history.
South Dakota Voices for Peace is somewhat happier than Senator Tapio:
Branstner recently said to an audience in St. Cloud, MN that United Nations sends Muslim refugees to the United States, “to divide and conquer, get rid of our Constitution, get rid of our way of life and implement it with another way of life….Sharia law.” Tonight’s speaker was also in Aberdeen, SD on August 11, 2016 where he gave completely incorrect information about refugees and the refugee resettlement process. He even associated refugee resettlement as “modern day slavery” where nonprofit agencies resettling refugees are making money off of people, a wholly inaccurate premise.
“South Dakota Voices for Peace applauds and thanks the History Club of Sioux Falls for taking a stand against the spread of fear and hate in our community,” said Taneeza Islam, executive director. “Our role is to provide accurate information based on reports, and speaker videos to venues and the community on who these speakers really are and what they are trying to preach. It is up to the community to decide what they will think about the message and if they will allow for a stage for these ideas.”
Since February 2017, SDVP has known about and kept record of Islamophobic and anti-refugee/immigrant events throughout SD. “Fear is being imported into SD at an alarming rate. Over 22 such events have been identified, and there may be many more,” said policy and communication director Samantha Spawn. “We are looking to our neighbors to help identify these events across our state by contacting us at email@example.com or leave a message at 605.610.8174” [South Dakota Voices for Peace, press release, 2017.10.26].
Branstner loses a chance to spread more lies and hate in South Dakota—I’ll sleep even better tonight.