Aryan Nations is a neo-Nazi movement that was founded by Rev. Richard Butler in 1976. The strategic goal of the founder was to establish an all-white and all-protestant Aryan Nation in six northwestern states in America, headquartered in Hayden Lake in the state of Idaho. The movement came to the limelight following its plans to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Adolf Hitler’s birthday by staging a parade of 100 people along the Sherman Avenue (Husock, 2011). Indeed, the group succeeded to stage marches on two occasions, following a period of distressful antagonism with the Mayor and residents of Coeur d’Alene city. Since a former security guard at the movement’s headquarters shot children at a Jewish Community Center in Los Angeles, the group’s relations with the community of Coeur d’Alene have been tense. This tension, coupled with the loss of relevance, has heightened level of uncertainty and upheaval amongst the adherent of the movement.
Consequences of the Mayor’s Decision
Aryan Nations had existed under the guise of a Christian foundation three decades before considering staging a protest match. By granting a parade permit Mayor Steve Judy facilitated the reduction and the ultimate defeat of the movement’s viability. As an organization with extremist views and affiliation with the brutal gangs such as The Order and The Order II, declining to issue the permit had the potential of instigating sought of a liberation struggle. A number of the groups affiliates have had been involved in acts of criminality including bombing, shooting, and assault, and, therefore, a denial would probably have regenerated such struggles. In addition to heightening tension within the community, a decline would have, as the city’s Attorney insisted, bleached the constitutional right of expression, which would have, in effect, resulted into costly, and probably, lengthy law suits.
As Mayor, Steve Judy acted wisely by creating a diverse coalition of residents, political leaders, legal professionals, among other interested groups. Getting everyone involved was essential in making an all-inclusive decision that boiled down resentment. Granting the permit helped weaken the morale of the movement. When the members realized that the group's influence was limited, discontent arose, a situation which eventually disarrayed the group. The two matches helped promote tolerance because it became apparent that the majority of the city residents loathed immoderate views and policies by a section of the community. This, in effect, expanded the comfort zones in the community, especially after the introduction of diversity and tolerance programs in schools. The Mayor’s delay served to expose hatred to denunciation. At times, Judy opted to assume the role of an observer, and, in fact, indicated reluctance in discussing this issue in a conflict driven forum at CBS’s morning show. He instead acted in a way that drew attention away from division and hatred, towards unity.
The Mayor took precautionary measures that denied the neo-Nazi’s level of publicity they had hoped for. Despite the initial disruptions to the economy of Coeur d’Alene, the reputation of the city was safeguarded in the long run. This is because, had confrontation ensured, investors and tourists would have shunned the city, and this would have been detrimental to its strategic growth. Therefore, it was sensible for the Mayor to grant the permit as this helped cool down the tempers and provided the community with an opportunity to neutralize extremism through peaceful means. The Mayor proved to be proficient in guaranteeing social justice in scenarios which require evaluation of varying situational variables. In this case, he took his time to weigh the pros and cons of granting the permit before coming into a conclusion. Judy recognized the possibility of the group getting undue attention, which would then attract extra followers. The increase in the number of followers would heighten tensions, and in effect, scare off the potential investors. Nevertheless, Judy knew that granting the permit would be in line with his constitutional obligations.
By organizing alternative activities for the city dwellers, the Mayor knew that the neo-Nazis would not get much attention. This, the Mayor hoped, would then be effective in breaking their morale, thereby accelerating the group’s collapse. This did happen, and, in fact, in a period of three months, between September 1999 and December of that year, the group suffered a sharp decline in membership, consequently reducing the amount of contributions. The situation worsened following an assault case against the movement’s guards that culminated with the group being declared bankrupt. Afterwards, Rev. Butler attempted to rejuvenate the movement to no avail, and ultimately, it disintegrated into competing factions. By the time of Rev. Butler’s death in 2004, these challenges appeared to have subdued the threat that the extremist views of this group presented to the community of Coeur d’Alene. Nevertheless, the school programs on diversity and tolerance that were inspired by the group activities persist. All the same, protests are forms of public awareness. The request for a protest permit and the antagonism that ensued made the members of the community mindful of their diversity and tolerance (Kathy, 2008).
The movement was conforming to the law by seeking a permit to protest in advance. It further supplied information about the expected number of protesters in order to enable the law enforcing agents to make adequate preparations. The group also promised to conform to the laws forbidding drinking, littering, and violence. Having met these requirements, the local authorities, as well as the police, couldn’t legitimately deny the group members their freedom of assembly. However, as a precautionary measure, the Mayor had to make arrangements that aimed at safeguarding public safety. In regard to this, he requested the law enforcement authorities to intervene in preventing riots which would have resulted into injury and destruction.
In accordance with the law, the Mayor had an obligation to impose reasonable restrictions with regard to the manner of protest, the place and time. This provision is made to enable a city to organize for emergency services, as well as a possible response. Additionally, the limitations help safeguard public order where public administration continues to function smoothly. The Mayor’s decision was the best as par the situation because the law prohibits discrimination based on the content in the speech, unless the content amounts into hate speech (Kathy, 2008). In some instances, a ban on protest has proved more damaging than an allowance to express the pressing views in a decent manner.