Last week, WW examined a brouhaha in a typically quiet place: a city council meeting in the tiny Lincoln County town of Toledo, where residents from all over Oregon gave testimony on whether Timber Unity enables right-wing extremists ("Timber Army," Feb. 3, 2021). A conservative group that hosts rallies in support of loggers and truckers, Timber Unity has been subject to intense scrutiny since its spokeswoman Angelita Sanchez attended the U.S. Capitol insurrection. Experts on extremism say that Timber Unity attracts white supremacists and paramilitary groups. Timber Unity leaders say they condemn white supremacy and the group is nonpartisan. Here's what our readers have to say:
Lance Cummins via wweek.com: "'Like any other organization, you can always get a turd in a punch bowl. You can't kick 'em all out. It's just the way it is,' [Toledo City Councilor Betty] Kamikawa said during the meeting.' Not true. You can and should kick them all out. Police your Facebook page. It isn't that hard to do."
@russtofferson via Twitter: "That's the scary thing; on the surface it seems innocuous and has broad appeal to rural conservatives, but for those seeking to recruit and radicalize for the culture war, it's a gold mine. And no one in the group appears motivated to do anything to thwart the extreme element."
arichf via wweek.com: "I signed up for the Facebook page of Timber Unity because I work in forestry. By the time they blocked me, I had learned the following: (1) Nobody on that page knows rat-fuck about trees, (2) they are filled with rage at the governor, 'city people' and anyone who does not see the wisdom of Donald Trump, (3) they are heavily armed. The rich people who fund these outfits ought to be held accountable. They are deliberately whipping up the human tendency toward xenophobia, all in pursuit of keeping their taxes low."
Stacey H via wweek.com: "Too bad Toledo and other small towns have spent so much time and energy doing what is failing instead of looking forward for projects that could create jobs and growth for the future. It's a shame that the people suffering from generational downward mobility choose to continue the exact same path and blaming others instead of finding upward mobility in any other way at all."
Mark Kuestner via Facebook: "I've met some reasonable people wearing Timber Unity clothing items. They don't seem to realize the 'movement' is funded and supported by wealthy conservatives." Brian Richards via Facebook: "Typical leftist demonizing everyone that doesn't think as them…that's why we are divided. Timber families are now terrorists and racist, according to them."
Ashanti Hall via Facebook: "If you allow racists to say racist things on your platform, your platform is racist. Especially with Facebook groups. It's really easy to set up keywords that alert mods to racism. Then you can choose to give those people a warning or kick them out of the group."
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