The number “88” is one of the most well-known symbols of White Supremacy. White Supremacists use this “dog whistle” symbol to show their beliefs and to identify with others who share those same beliefs while still under the guise of coincidence or misunderstanding. When broken down, 88 stands for “HH” or “Heil Hitler.”

I mention this because I recently noticed this symbol displayed proudly in our small town. Outside of Dyersville, directly west of New Wine Park, I recently noticed a demo derby van that is painted like an American flag, with a “Trump 2020” declaration on the side. That alone is not a problem. The problem I have with this van is that, on the passenger side door, it proudly displays a large “88.” In my eyes, this was far from a coincidence. This is a proud display of the hate growing in our country.

Many people have noticed the growing abundance of racism in our country over the past few years. Many people also believe that these instances of racism are overblown by media, inaccurate, or are someone else’s problem in another part of the country. I wanted to let this town that I love know that this hate is growing in our own smalltown Iowa. It is disgusting, embarrassing and extremely sad. Our town is known for being “Iowa Nice” and for welcoming tourists throughout the entire year, but what I saw on that painted van was simply hate. Hate for others that are not like them, hate for other Americans, hate for other Iowans, and hate for other citizens of Dyersville.

I will not stand by quietly while I watch hate grow in our town. I don’t care who you vote for, but I will not stand idly by while Neo-Nazism grows in my hometown. I ask everyone in Dyersville to take a stand, speak up for what you know is right and don’t allow hate to take over our “Iowa Nice” way of life.