This year, the Southern Poverty Law Center released a report highlighting Oregon’s history of hate speech and intolerance. Now more than ever, our leaders need to reaffirm their commitment to keeping Oregon a welcoming place — but the Oregon GOP is doing the exact opposite.
Twice this year already, Oregon Republicans have doubled down on bringing hate speech to our state. Just last week, the Deschutes County GOP hosted John Guandolo, “a right wing extremist, anti-Muslim, disgraced FBI agent and well-known conspiracist.” And just last month, Sheriff David Clarke headlined the Oregon Liberty Alliance’s 2018 Freedom Rally, despite his history of toxic, racist rhetoric.
It’s clear that these aren’t isolated incidents. The Oregon GOP just hosted the Dorchester Conference, the largest gathering of political conservatives in Oregon each year — and their speakers list clearly shows that the Oregon GOP is siding with bigotry and hate speech.
This year’s conference featured a speech and book signing by Kevin Jackson, a known conspiracy theorist who has claimed that “having a white Republican president is what’s best for the country.” And headlining the conference was Roger Stone, a longtime Donald Trump ally and Republican agitator who has built a career on virulent hate speech against women, communities of color, and LGBTQ people. His disturbing and violent statements have gotten him banned from major cable news networks, including CNN and MSNBC. In fact, Stone was even banned from Twitter, a platform that’s come under fire for refusing to take action against white supremacists and self-identified Neo-Nazis.
Roger Stone showed his true colors at the conference by joining members of the SPLC-designated hate group the Proud Boys in Salem. The Proud Boys are self-described “western chauvinists,” known for violence and spreading hate about women and communities of color.
The Oregon GOP has shown that it’s fundamentally opposed to our state’s progressive values, and it’s time to send a clear message that their party’s hate speech isn’t welcome here.