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Love and hate – it’s all in how you look at it

Maybe this is what they mean by a love-hate relationship.

Call a bigot on their hatred and all they can talk about is love. Their love of white people. Their love of Western culture. Their love of “our” “values.”

Their deep and abiding love of their own skin.

We’ve had a good, strong dose of this lately. First, there was the arrest of J.D. Hop last week on weapons charges by federal agents. Hop, it turns out, has been a passionate presence on racist websites.

Then came the news that Hop had a tangential connection to a new group at Washington State University that, among other tired stunts, had erected a symbolic fence as part of its campaign against “radical multiculturalism” and illegal immigration.

Then, this week, Michael Hop came rushing to his brother’s defense. He claimed – in a long story the S-R published on its website, and a shorter version that appeared in the paper – that his brother is merely proud of his white heritage, and there’s nothing wrong with that. The reason he picketed taco trucks in Coeur d’Alene – an activity that is deeply offensive to both heart and stomach – is because the Hop brothers, being from California and all, truly understand what will happen if we let tacos and the people who make them proliferate.

In his interview with the S-R, Michael Hop tried to whitewash these things the way bigots always do – it’s not that they hate anybody; it’s just that they’re proud of their race, see? Nothing wrong with that.

Michael Hop talked about his association with a man who’s affiliated with the KKK, for example. Hop just happened to see some Aryan-style flags one day at the man’s home.

“I stopped because I share an interest in those flags,” Michael Hop told S-R reporter Thomas Clouse. “He was a family man and a good hard worker, just like myself. It’s not illegal to associate with people.”

Yes. Those flags are just so … interesting.

Michael Hop said he’s visited the flag-flier’s home a couple of times to let their children play. There’s a play date that makes you want to put CPS on speed-dial.

Meanwhile, at WSU, there’s the latest of the periodic outbursts of white-kid boorishness over race. A WSU chapter of Youth for Western Civilization has formed to defend the poor, beleaguered white Christian from the onslaught of multiculturalism. Phil Tignino, a WSU student and leader of the group, recently posted a screed online about his group’s erection of a fence on the Glen Terrell Mall at WSU earlier this month – their subtle way of poking a stick in the eye of liberals.

“I don’t think the U.S. should be known as the country that is home to every culture, language and belief system in the world,” Tignino, a 22-year-old political science major from Los Angeles, told the Murrow News Service.

There’s a difference between the Hop boys and the Youth, of course, but both seem to think that anyone with brown skin is an illegal immigrant. Just a few years ago, another group of WSU students pulled the same fence stunt and got just what they wanted: A professor cursed at them. Called them white (bleep)-bags.

Outrageous, isn’t it? Sometimes I wonder how those brave white dudes bear up under it all.

Tignino is probably headed for a fruitful career in politics. In his blog post on the fence protest, he unveiled the “true” reasons people oppose him and his group, besides general liberal bigotry: Mexicans are trying to steal America to create a homeland.

“Many students openly wore shirts depicting Aztlan and the reconquest of the American Southwest for Mexico by demographic attrition from illegal immigrants south of the border,” he wrote. “Make no mistake, these openborder advocates that cantillate the wonders of a world without borders is nothing but a clever hoax. What they want is territory from the United States. When illegals and their supporters say they are Americans, and when they somberly wave the American flag, don’t fall for it. It’s a lie.”

Such a clever hoax. Claiming to be Americans and such.

Of course, even in a region like ours, full of bigotry against white people and rampant, unbearable multiculturalism, some people just don’t get it. Like the good folks at Millwood Community Presbyterian Church, who took a look around and asked themselves whether this community was having a true dialogue about race. There was this matter of an attempted bombing of an MLK Day march after all.

A friend of mine, Dan Hansen, helped organize a speakers’ series at the church on Culture, Race and Understanding, kicked off last week by Ryan Crocker, the former U.S. ambassador to Iraq and Spokane native. The next speaker in the series, on May 24, will be Coeur d’Alene’s Tony Stewart, and organizers are hoping that, as an added attraction, there’ll be some tacos from the people that J.D. Hop and his ilk picketed.

That’s right. Tacos. At a church.

Somebody sound the cultural alarm.

Whatever else Michael Hop has to say about race and bigotry and tacos, he manages to get one thing just right: “As we all know, there is trash in any race.”

Shawn Vestal can be reached at (509) 459-5431 or shawnv@

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