My first impulse, when discovering all the good and difficult work that SPLC does, was to come home, sell the house, store my stuff and come back down here and volunteer, because these guys (a figure of speech for which I apologize. There are plenty of gutsy women here) are having all the fun. Given my 20 or so years as a journalist, I know that the cream of the assignments is the investigative piece, and these folks get the best of all –rooting out liars and haters and evildoers and their works, and then ratting on them in very big ways. I love it.
Due to the nature of their work, and the absolutely evil people they work to expose, I will not name names here. But we met a brave fellow who is in daily jeopardy because he is able to rattle off the entire history of “christian identity” movement and its string of weird whoppers that “prove” white people are the real lost tribes of Israel and the Jews are Satan-made automatons (i.e. not really people, so we can kill them and god won’t care). You wanta talk Satan-made? I don’t think I even believed in Satan until I heard about these guys. But I digress. Just let me say that if you’re appalled at the rise of hate and fear in this country, put SPLC on your Christmas list. These folks are doing the work that most critically needs doing, despite frequent death threats and living in a fortress that protects them from another bombing (the last one destroyed their old HQ.) Most folks would have left town. But instead, we spent the day in the delightful company of a young woman who moved here a year ago to take a job with this group, and is about as fired up as anyone I’ve met in the service of, oddly enough, truth and the American Way. Happy Trails and long, unharmed life, Leah. We won’t soon forget you.