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The Columbus Dispatch, June 7, 2004

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Mike's Letter to the Editor published June 21, 2004

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Significant text that was edited is in red.

To the Editor:

According to your June 7 article announcing the upcoming week of disturbances organized by Flip Benham and his vigilante band called "Operation Save America," Benham is quoted as insisting that the "homosexual community" is poised to take over the city of Columbus, and his arrival signals "Christ or chaos" for the city.

There's nothing new about Benham's rhetoric, that assumes that cities are by definition places of suspicion. Half a century ago, whites fleeing urban areas for the suburbs often felt the same way about cities, for a somewhat different reason: that cities, they alleged, were then being "taken over" by people who also brought a different culture and way of life with them, and that to remain culturally and ethnically "pure," the city must first be abandoned, then subdued.

Today the names and circumstances are very different, but Benham in a similar fashion is applying his own "holy race-ism" as an excuse to launch an assault of sorts on the entire city of Columbus. This time, the elect are a "holy race," not based on skin color or ethnicity, but one that anyone can join. It's a bunch of self-styled "revolutionaries" primarily from the suburbs and nearby semi-rural areas who again view many aspects of the city as evil, because of the mere residence and visibility of those who clearly won't be converting to their exclusive and caustic identity. Their obsession with the gay community is just one aspect of the frustration they're certain to express when faced with the impossibility of replacing the thriving multicultural and diverse city of Columbus with the conformity and simplicity of a drab monoculture, and that's just not going to happen.

Mike Doughney

Mike notes after publication: The use of the hyphenated term, "holy race-ism," was very intentional and should not have been edited. It is spelled that way to emphasize that what we are discussing is a "holy race" and to focus on how those who see themselves as part of that "holy race" view the world, not that "racism" as it is commonly understood (having to do with skin color, appearance, or heritage) is considered "holy" by members or leadership of Operation Save America.

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