1939 Klan march, looking alarmingly like a 2019 march. Getty Images
Because so much winning, another good ole bigot - alarmingly, a newspaper editor with an actual bully pulpit - has crawled out of his cave to call for the Ku Klux Klan "to night ride again" to hang Democrats and their ilk with, intriguingly, "hemp ropes" to "clean out D.C." The editorial was written by one Goodloe Sutton, 80, longtime publisher of the Democrat-Reporter in Linden, AL, a small poor town that's about evenly split between black and white residents. Angered by mysterious forces in power “plotting to raise taxes in Alabama,” Goodsoe wrote the KKK “would be welcome to raid the gated communities in D.C." When the Montgomery Advertiser, an evidently less crazed Alabama paper, contacted him to question his call, Goodloe doubled down on the batshit gibberish, suggesting, "We’ll get the hemp ropes out, loop them over a tall limb and hang all of them.” He added that, besides, newly freed slaves used to borrow their former masters' Klan robes to frighten or kill bad people "but so what," and he's not "calling for the lynchings of Americans - these are socialist-communists we're talking about." Finally, asked if he viewed the KKK as racist and violent, he likened it to the NAACP and offered the defense, "Well, they didn't kill but a few people."
Sutton inherited the paper from his father, and won acclaim in the 1990s for some anti-corruption stories. But locals say the paper, with its history of ranting against blacks, Jews, women, Muslims, gay people has long been what a former reporter calls "a cesspool of indefensible bilge," becoming "the ravings of a bigot and madman drowning in his own bile." Archives of editorials - only in print, likely why his ravings stayed local until Chip Brownlee of the Auburn Plainsman exposed them - include titles like "Homosexuals take black spotlight" and "Slavery was a good lesson for Jews." Sutton's latest outburst, though, has met with widespread if belated censure, exemplified by the New York Times headline, "Small Town Winces." Lawmakers called for him to resign, the university rescinded his journalism award, the state's press association suspended his paper, he was booted out of his alma mater's Hall of Fame. Today, in a country run by another good ole bigot, people have evidently had enough. A recent annual report by the Southern Poverty Law Center finds hate groups rising at an unprecedented rate - 30% in the last four years, 7% in 2018 - to reach a high of at least 20 years. Thank, of course, Trump, who has elevated hate and "given people across America the go-ahead to act on their worst instincts." One more time: Words matter. Racist old coots, take note.
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Goodloe Sutton, good ole bigot. Facebook photo
Klan rolling through town in 1939