(cross-posted at Turn Maine Blue)
An interesting tale to relate:
Today I was grabbing some breakfast at Java Joe's, and there was some discussion involving a store in downtown Augusta called Arch Enemys (yes, it's misspelled, don't ask me why). For those of you who don't know, they have- or at least used to have- live models in their store windows, wearing outfits sold in the store. The discussion, of course, turned to our other former store with live models, which used to be right across the street- the lingerie store, Spellbound.
The person I spoke with related a tale of the hell the owner went through to keep that store open as long as she did. She, too, faced off against the Christian Civic League- and lost. I, admittedly, didn't know the depths to which they went, including to call a 15 year old girl a "slut" for being related to the owner and associated with the store.
The CCL began protesting outside the storefront of Spellbound shortly before its closure. Their online postings, designed to incite the rabble as they were when they declared Rita and I Pagans (duh!), were much more successful against Spellbound than us. The owner endured harassing phone calls, death threats, and what sounds like videotaping of her patrons before she finally gave in and closed her doors- a mere four months after the Kennebec Journal lauded her business as "bringing a piece of New York to Maine".
We in this country are fighting a "war on terror". How you can fight a noun still eludes me, but okay. Next it will be the war on Twinkies. The excuses of "9/11", "fighting them there so we don't fight them here", and "terrorism" fall on my deaf ears.
On September 11th, 2001, planes flew into buildings and killed thousands. They scared people away from flying. Airline companies went bankrupt, some being bailed out by the Fed (and this time, with good reason). People walked the streets, looked at Arabs with headgear and beards, and assumed they too must be terrorists!
The Christian Civic League promotes the kind of terrorism that scares me most- the kind that walks into our small towns and frightens us. I have long held the belief that the scariest terrorist act would be to butcher a small town of 100 to the last man- small death toll, but no one would feel safe anymore.
When we allow the Christian Civic League to shutter the doors of local businesses practicing their legal right to free speech, we fail the citizens of our state, and we fail as Democrats. This is the true war on terror- fighting off groups such as these who promote hatred among the citizenry, and turn neighbor against neighbor.
Never again should we allow this group to close a business. I don't care if you thought the Spellbound displays were too risque- tough. They were practicing their right to free speech. The Christian Civic League, meanwhile, declared their victory over the "liberal establishment". We must not let these acts continue.
The County Committee is their current target. We will not be cowed. We will not surrender. And, Democrats, you must not surrender. The true "war on terror" is fought right in our own towns, against groups like this who promote wrong-headed ideology and attempt to make everyone else bend knee to it. We must not permit domestic terrorism to continue to rear its ugly head.
And if you think I'm being overly zealous, review the definition for "terrorism":
"the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion"
And of "terror":
1 : "a state of intense fear"
And tell me that the owner of this store wasn't terrified.