Opinion » Letters

Extreme politics have no place in local government

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In the aftermath of the discovery of SLO County Planning Commissioner Jim Harrison's incendiary and snark-witted Facebook posts, we should not mistake them as just another example of "free speech" gone awry, but rather as part of a cancer of white nationalist and anti-Constitutional bigotry spreading under the Trump presidency.

As a former Republican who left the party in the late 1980s, I was first alarmed by the rise of the religious right, and within it, the goal to establish America as a fundamentalist "Christianist" nation, governed theocratically. Little did I suspect that 25 years later, I also would witness the rise of the many "antis"—anti-Semitism, -Islam, -immigrant, -science, -LGBT rights, all of which would be stirred into a boiling stew of culture-war politics by an ever more extreme right-wing constituency.

In the years preceding Barack Obama's election as president, opinions of the kind commissioner Harrison posted were virtually unknown in the political mainstream. They were the sort of thing one had to seek out on the Stormfront website (neo-Nazi), or were circulated among widely scattered so-called "Christian identity" gatherings to nurture racial and religious animus. But that was then. Who knew that our first African-American president and his multi-racial administration would so unhinge much of white America and disgorge its submerged resentments into a nasty movement, delivering us the divisive Trump presidency?

I trust that Commissioner Harrison's extremist politics will be shown to have no place in public service.

Gordon L. Fuglie

Atascadero

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