Book­store owner de­fends win­dow dis­play, cit­ing what he calls his­tor­i­cal par­al­lels

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - By Wil­liam J. Kem­ble news@free­manon­

About 25 peo­ple gath­ered out­side the In­quir­ing Minds book­store in the vil­lage on Wed­nes­day to protest an anti-Don­ald Trump sign in the store’s win­dow that has the can­di­date’s name and the words “Make America hate again” su­per­im­posed over a swastika.

Store owner Brian Donoghue said he ex­pected the dis­play to ig­nite con­tro­versy, though it took about two weeks from the time he put up the 4-by-4-foot sign for pro­test­ers to voice ob­jec­tions.

Wed­nes­day’s protest was or­ga­nized by Angie Minew, a for­mer mem­ber of the Saugerties school board and an un­suc­cess­ful Repub­li­can can­di­date for an Ul­ster County Leg­is­la­ture seat last year.

A heated dis­cus­sion out­side the store be­tween Minew and Donoghue focused on whether there was a com­mer­cial in­tent to the dis­play, which also features books crit­i­cal of Trump sur­rounded by books about the rise of Hitler and the Ger­man Third Re­ich.

“I have a prob­lem with the fact that you used a swastika, I have a prob­lem that [it] rep­re­sents hate and geno­cide ... and I also have a prob­lem that you’re mak­ing money off the books that you so ob­vi­ously hate,” Minew told the store owner.

Donoghue, whose store is at Main and Par­ti­tion streets in the vil­lage, coun­tered that the books were not dis­played for pro­mo­tion — though he said he would sell them if asked — but rather were in­tended to re­flect what he sees as his­tor­i­cal par­al­lels.

“The rea­son I did this was, in watch­ing some of the Trump ral­lies, I re­ally felt I was in pre­war (World War II) Nazi Ger­many,” he said. “... I saw neo-Nazis there, I saw ab­so­lute hate, hate in their hearts, and it scared me for my fam­ily. It scared me for my chil­dren’s fu­ture . ...

“I thought this is Nazi Ger­many hap­pen­ing again and I felt com­pelled to alert my com­mu­nity and alert the peo­ple around me that we need to pay at­ten­tion to this.” Donoghue added. “This man (Trump) is dan­ger­ous.”

On Tues­day, Donoghue

was is­sued a no­tice by vil­lage Code En­force­ment Of­fi­cer Eyal Saad that said the sign vi­o­lates the vil­lage’s rules re­gard­ing the size of win­dow signs and that the store has un­til Nov. 1 to come into com­pli­ance with the law. The no­tice makes no men­tion of Trump or the swastika.

Saad did not re­turn a re­porter’s call Wed­nes­day, but vil­lage Mayor Bill Mur­phy said there is some ques­tion about whether fur­ther en­force­ment ac­tion should be taken given that Elec­tion Day is less than three weeks away.

“I spoke with the His­toric Re­view Board this morn­ing, and their take is as dis­taste­ful and every­thing as it is, it is a po­lit­i­cal sign and he could be within his rights [for] po­lit­i­cal sig­nage,” the mayor said.

The Trump-swastika sign was cre­ated by artist David Radovanovic of Saugerties.

Donoghue re­sponded to con­cerns voiced Wed­nes­day that the dis­play could hurt chil­dren by say­ing school dis­tricts need to his­tory in such a way that Nazi Ger­many won’t be for­got­ten.

“The fact that this is a sym­bol, and chil­dren can see it, I would hope that chil­dren would study this in school so they know a Nazi when they see one,” he

said. “Peo­ple fought a world war to de­feat this. By gloss­ing it over and pre­tend­ing it doesn’t ex­ist, we’re al­low­ing it to hap­pen again.”

Minew was among sev­eral peo­ple at the protest who de­fended ac­tions and state­ments by Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Trump, in­clud­ing the re­cently re­leased 2005 record­ing of him say­ing he could kiss women and grab their gen­i­tal area with­out con­sent be­cause of his fame.

“It’s what guys say, you know it as well as I do,” Minew said. “This is how they talk and this is how they talked to me when I was in school.”

Mixed among Trump sup­port­ers at the protest where sev­eral peo­ple car­ry­ing signs sup­port­ing Demo­cratic nom­i­nee Hil­lary Clin­ton, and the sides oc­ca­sion­ally got into heated ar­gu­ments in which the Trump back­ers brought up Clin­ton’s email prob­lems the deaths of four Amer­i­cans at the U.S. con­sulate in Beng­hazi, Libya, in 2012.

Po­lice of­fi­cers stood across the street from the protest but did not in­ter­vene.

Also on hand was Saugerties Vil­lage Board mem­ber Don­ald Hack­ett, who said he at­tended be­cause he ob­jects to a lo­cal store dis­play­ing a sym­bol that is

so widely loathed. He said the swastika in the win­dow could be a detri­ment to lo­cal tourism.

“I’m protest­ing be­cause of hate, be­cause there’s a swastika sit­ting in this win­dow, and I have a lot of Jewish friends, and they called me this week­end with con­cerns with what’s go­ing on in this vil­lage,” Hack­ett said.

Donoghue said he dis­cussed the win­dow dis­play with his wife, who is Jewish, be­fore set­ting it up.

“I think it was speak up now or never,” he said. “I have, along with the Trump sign, a sign in the win­dow [that] says, ‘First they came for the so­cial­ists, I did not speak out be­cause I was not a so­cial­ist ... Then they came for the trade union­ists, and I did not speak out be­cause I was not a trade union­ist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out be­cause I was not a Jew. Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me.’”

Among those at the store on Wed­nes­day who found the win­dow dis­play ap­pro­pri­ate was In­grid Way, who was 3 years old and liv­ing in Ger­many when World War II ended in 1945. Way, who is not Jewish, said she does not have mem­o­ries of the Nazi reign but grew up learn­ing that Hitler was a mon­ster.


Pro­test­ers Chastity Martinez, left, Ed Quirk, cen­ter, and San­tos Lopez of Saugerties stand with other pro­test­ers out­side the In­quir­ing Minds book­store on Wed­nes­day.

Brian Donoghue, left, owner of In­quir­ing Minds book­store in Saugerties, de­fends the Trump-swastika sign to protest or­ga­nizer Angie Minew.

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