There is some muttering about an editorial in a small town newspaper in the US. It is very much a small newspaper in a small town and the views expressed are not of the most progressive and liberal kind. It’s the reaction to it that’s the marker of quite how far we’ve come.
The actual editorial:
There’s an amusement about it being Democrats the Klan needs to go deal with. For back when the Klan was a power in the land the South – where the Klan was a power – was solidly and resolutely Democrat. Quite why is another matter – just the Republicans lording it over all during Reconstruction isn’t enough to explain – but it was Democratic politicians and voters which supported and imposed Jim Crow. Couldn’t have been Republicans as here was hardly a one elected Republican south of the Mason Dixon line.
But, you know, that’s history.
The editor of a small-town Alabama newspaper called for the Ku Klux Klan to “ride again” and lynch “Democrats [who] are plotting to raise taxes in Alabama” in a recent editorial, the Montgomery Advertiser reported Monday. In the editorial published on Feb. 14, Goodloe Sutton, who inherited the Democrat-Reporter in Linden, Alabama, from his father and who has worked for the paper since the 1960s, complained of the “socialist-communist ideology [that] sounds good to the ignorant, the uneducated, and the simple-minded people.”
One way of reading it is as the result of a good lunch.
When asked by the Advertiser if he was really calling for the revival of the Klan, he responded, “If we could get the Klan to go up there and clean out D.C., we’d all been better off.” He later added: “We’ll get the hemp ropes out, loop them over a tall limb and hang all of them. … It’s not calling for the lynchings of Americans. These are socialist-communists we’re talking about.” When asked about his opinions on the KKK, he rejected the assertion that it was a violent hate group. “A violent organization? Well, they didn’t kill but a few people,” he said. “The Klan wasn’t violent until they needed to be.”
Or maybe a liquid breakfast to let it all hang out quite that much.
Myself I’d equate it to an Englishman calling on King Arthur to awaken and save the kingdom in time of need. Something that at least one person says every time a Labour government is elected. Most other iconographies have a similar hero who is to save all when the time is right and necessary. Maybe the KKK’s not quite the stylish or fashionable choice but it’s obviously drawn from the same stock of folk histories rather than the actual history of the Klan.
But perhaps you don’t find that attractive as an explanation? Fine, that’s up to you. Let’s go further. You think – as you’ve every right to if you wish – that some pencil necked pea brain down South is wrong to even think that way. Great. But look how far we’ve come in Generation Snowflake:
Chip Brownlee and Mikayla Burns — editor-in-chief and managing editor, respectively, at The Auburn Plainsman — first spotted Sutton’s editorial and shared it online Monday. “As a newspaper editor myself it’s disturbing to see this type of editorial printed,” Brownlee said via email. “Granted, I’m the editor of a student newspaper, but all newspapers should be held to the highest ethical and moral standards. Editorials should be about new ideas, constructive criticism and opinion backed up by facts. To call for the return of domestic terrorism — no matter its form — is counterproductive and wrong. It’s important to welcome and encourage differing opinions, but violence is never right.”
Err, yes. The students, by definition the people learning how to do things, are to tell the man who’s been doing it twice as long as they’ve been alive what he must do.
The Advertiser contacted the Alabama Press Association, the state trade association for newspapers in the state, to inquire whether or not Sutton and the Democrat-Reporter were members. “We do not agree with the opinion,” said Felicia Mason, APA executive director. “However, APA is not a policing agency. We simply have no authority over what our member newspapers publish.”
And yes, the other newspaper tried to report the original for BadThink.
Invoking the KKK as the Good Old Days when we really knew what to do with politicians has its attractions, certainly, as long as we do accept it in that Arthurian Legend sort of concept. The actual reality was far too horrible to want to have that back. But the Snowflakes telling other people what they can put in their own newspaper, that’s worse.