TITLE: FRUIT OF THE POISONOUS TREE
The blonde to my left—she’d introduced herself as “Heidi,” but no one here was using her real name—handed me the patch. The Rune of Life: it was supposed to be a tree: Three thick black sticks, against a red background. It resembled a legless, headless stick figure with its arms raised—something my two year old might draw. I passed it to the woman to my right.
As the patch made its way from one woman to the next, I shifted in the folding chair and looked around. The Aryan Motherhood members looked not unlike any other group of rural, mostly stay-at-home, moms. Everyone was white, of course; and there were lots of sensible haircuts and appliquéd tops.
Our group leader, “Mary,” cleared her throat. She was a slight, plain-looking woman with long brown hair and a serious face.
“Has everyone had a chance to examine the rune?”
A sea of heads bobbed and a murmur of “yeses” rose from the group.
“Okay, then, it’s time for a vote. The Chapter moves to adopt the Rune of Life as its symbol. All in favor, say ‘aye.’”
She was met by chorus of “ayes.”
Silence. No surprise there. In the month that I’d been attending these meetings, I’d yet to hear anyone oppose anything. In the beginning, no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t imagine any of these wholesome, earnest women dressed in white sheets, burning crosses. They did strike me as sheep, though, the way they seemed to mindlessly accept whatever they were told. It probably wouldn’t be too hard to incite them to violence.