In an ideal world, things like the proposed Aryan Nations march in Coeur d’Alene would never happen.
But although the march, originally planned for April 18, has been at least postponed, it raises important questions we need to answer, members of the Our Generation Teen Council agreed during a recent meeting.
Debate ensued over how we as teenagers should respond to the march and why it is even planned in the first place.
We on the council do not condone the Aryan Nations’ beliefs, but we support their right, under the Constitution, to march. They, like us, have the right to free speech and assembly. Unless we want to see our rights chipped away, we cannot chip away others’, council members said.
But the question we have to answer is, how do we deal with the march and the beliefs that the Aryan Nations uphold?
Many groups and organizations are reacting to the march with countermeasures.
Students at Post Falls High School have made anti-racism T-shirts and are selling them for way below cost. Lake City High students made “Closed to Hate” signs for merchants along the march route who may choose to close their stores during the march.
Human rights organizations are planning countermarches and petition drives to raise money for human rights organizations based on how far the Aryan Nations march.
We on the council support these efforts so long as they remain peaceful. The postponement of the march may be a good thing, giving those who intend to protest time to think through their plans and, hopefully, to ensure that peace prevails.
Letting the group march without some form of protest would be wrong, council members said, and would only be tolerating the Aryans’ beliefs.
We on the council agreed the most effective way to combat the ill effects of an Aryan Nations march is to show disapproval without resorting to violence, and to educate young people.
Parents should start early and teach their children to embrace diversity and acceptance. Thus, when events like the Aryan Nations march come along, we can prevent impressionable young minds from being drawn into hate.
People are not born to hate, council members said. Thus, we must do a better job of steering our children away from learning to hate.
This sidebar appeared with the story: ABOUT TEEN VIEWS The Spokesman-Review’s Our Generation Teen Council meets monthly, debating a topic of interest to teens. One member then writes a commentary on the topic, which appears on the Opinion page.
The published story called the column Your Turn instead of Teen View.