The Ku Klux Klan, while thankfully no longer much of a force in American politics, is still invoked quite often, in moments of hyperbole across the political spectrum. Liberals, at times, compare conservatives to racist Klansmen, while conservatives are sometimes fond of pointing out that Klan members in the late 19th and early 20th century were often Democrats. Then there’s former Klan leader and sometime presidential candidate David Duke, whose utterances are frequently reported on by mainstream media.
However, it’s rare these days to find open praise for the Ku Klux Klan in an American media outlet. But just that happened this week in Alabama.
According to the Montgomery Advertiser, a small town newspaper in Linden, Ala. called the Democrat-Reporter last week published an editorial titled “Klan Needs to Ride Again.” The editorial, while unsigned, was authored by Goodloe Sutton, the newspaper’s editor and publisher, he confirmed to the Advertiser.
“Time for the Ku Klux Klan to night ride again,” Sutton wrote in the short, nine-paragraph editorial, which was published February 14. “Democrats in the Republican Party and Democrats are plotting to raise taxes in Alabama.”
The editorial, in stilted language, goes on to assail government spending policies, and then bizarrely invokes slaves, who “at times.. borrowed their masters’ robes and horses and rode through the night to frighten some evil doer.” The editorial goes on to blame “Democrats” for instigating all of the American wars of the 20th and 21st centuries.
“Seems like the Klan would be welcome to raid the gated communities up there,” the piece says. “They call them compounds now.”
When asked by the Montgomery newspaper to elaborate on what, exactly, he was hoping for the Klan to do, Sutton said that “we’ll get the hemp ropes out, loop them over a tall limb and hang all of them.” And when asked whether he considered the Klan violent, Sutton replied that “a violent organization? Well, they didn’t kill but a few people… The Klan wasn’t violent until they needed to be.” Sutton noted, however, that there is now very little active Klan in the area.
Sutton has worked at the paper since the 1960s, and he inherited ownership of it from his father. The newspaper doesn’t appear to have a working website, but its old issues are archived at a website called STP Archive. The paper has a Facebook page, but the pro-Klan editorial was not published to it.