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No room for hate in Harford County [Editorial]

In a sign of the times, white supremacist fliers were left under the cover of anonymity and darkness in a Bel Air community last Wednesday.

The fliers spewed hatred toward Jewish people and police. One side of the fliers referenced disgust and hatred toward Jewish people and asked people reading it to join the quest for global white supremacy. The other side attacked the police, calling them armed bands that roam the area. It depicts a uniformed police officer as a typical gang member, advocating that people "Defend yourself by any means necessary!"

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Some people in the neighborhood were a little surprised and a bit put off by the fliers, but otherwise were unfazed because of their positive experiences with their neighbors.

"Everywhere you go, people are nice," Meghan Beyea, who lives in the Fountain Green community, said about her neighborhood. "My neighbors care. If there's something wrong, they check in."

Other residents shared Beyea's perspective of life in the neighborhood, as did the woman who has delivered the community's mail for the past couple of years.

"I've never heard of any issues like that," Liz Keefe, who works for the U.S. Postal Service, said.

There have been similar episodes over the years, involving anonymous individuals purporting to be the Ku Klux Klan. Those folks had claimed they were organizing or meeting or marching or whatever. None of the public displays materialized.

That's not to say there aren't plenty of white supremacists living in Harford County. There are too many. Nothing says it better than the Confederate battle flags on display, including on vehicles to better spread the message as those motorists traverse the region.

Harford is blessed to be a county with an executive and part of a state with a governor who have each rejected just the kind of hatred and divisiveness the fliers advocated.

Republican Gov. Larry Hogan refused to endorse Republican President Donald Trump's campaign that was managed by Steve Bannon, the principal in Breitbart News, a website that is the home of the alt-right movement. Alt-right is a euphemism for white supremacy.

Republican Harford County Executive Barry Glassman also refused to endorse President Trump's candidacy when asked during the campaign by The Aegis. He gently said Trump's philosophy and style were not in line with his.

Even the president, whose election has emboldened white supremacists who dream of taking back the United States from people not like them, spoke out Tuesday morning against anti-Semitism.

"The anti-Semitic threats targeting our Jewish community and community centers are horrible, and are painful, and a very sad reminder of the work that still must be done to root out hate and prejudice and evil," he said, according to The New York Times.

Trump, according to The New York Times, said his visit Tuesday to the National Museum of African American History and Culture was "a meaningful reminder of why we have to fight bigotry, intolerance and hatred in all of its very ugly forms."

If only the president acted as if he believed those words he spoke, there would be less bigotry, intolerance and hatred, at least so openly, in our country.

And pitiful cowards spewing hate anonymously under the cover of darkness wouldn't feel so newly empowered.

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Whether it was choosing not to endorse Trump's candidacy or his strong words last week, Glassman's views on such cowardice are clear.

He came out strongly against the fliers the same day they were discovered.

"I absolutely reject any kind of hateful and discriminatory messages directed against our Jewish community, law enforcement, or any citizens of Harford County," Glassman said on a statement posted on the county web site. "We cherish all of our residents and want them to know they are welcome here, and these disgraceful fliers have no place in our home."

We couldn't have said it any better than Glassman did. The county executive's words exemplify the country and the county that we know and love.

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