The following is a letter to the editor I’ve sent online to my local newspaper, The Forum in Fargo. I’ll let you know if it sees the light of print….because It — The Mainstreaming of Radicalism — Can’t Happen Here…until it does:
They bill themselves as Greater Fargo Moorhead’s Chamber of Commerce, but the actions of the Chamber this past year contradict that "greater." The Chamber’s decision last December to announce the hiring of an executive director, Craig Whitney, whose main claim to fame was working for the hapless former vice president, Dan Quayle, signalled the Chamber’s eagerness to dive into the cesspool of divisive and partisan rightwing politics.
Fast forward a few months and Whitney announces the Chamber’s new "Voices of Vision" speakers series [The Forum, Thursday, Sept. 16), featuring "world thought leaders and cutting edge business visionaries." Who do they pick to exemplify that? Disgraced military merchant of arms to Iran, convicted felon for his involvement in Iran-Contra, longtime spewer of venomous hate on rightwing talk radio, Oliver North.
The man who hid behind his military uniform as he bald-faced lied to the U.S. Congress.
That’s the part Craig Whitney wants to airbrush. Hopes you’ve forgotten. Or thinks you don’t care about. Calling North a prime example and fitting person to launch the [Vision] series to honor individuals who personify the chamber’s mission to unify and advance business interests is like calling the serpent in the garden a nice little marketer of apples.
While the radical rightwing makes inroads throughout mainstream Republican circles and too many who call themselves moderate Republicans cave to their thuggery, Whitney is leading the Chamber down the same road. As a small business owner and former active member of the Fargo Chamber, put me on record as saying shame. This twisting of history and attempt to airbrush the disgraceful record of Oliver North and hold him up as a model of excellence says much about both Craig Whitney and the Chamber that hired him.
Voices of Vision? Divisive dystopian nightmare, more like.
crossposted at Prairie Sun Rising