Over the weekend, Rep. Tommy Benton’s defense of the KKK exploded across national news and put his House colleagues in a spot to either stand with the KKK defender or to cast him aside.
House Ethics Committee Chairman, Rep. Joe Wilkinson, R-Sandy Springs, publicly backed away from the KKK defender leaving no question about where he stands.
“I certainly cannot associate myself with those comments,” Rep. Wilkinson said as he removed his name from Benton’s legislation.
Another Republican, Rep. Mike Cheokas, R-Americus, said he couldn’t back away from the KKK defender and his pro-Confederacy bills because “A lot of the people in my district are sensitive to … how can I say this? Well, their ancestors served in the Confederacy.”
And House Speaker David Ralston continued to be silent on the issue. Speaker Ralston’s silence continued even after Rep. Tommy Benton defied the speaker’s request to tone down his comments by conducting an interview on WSB-TV.
In this case, and in most of politics, silence is acceptance.
Speaker Ralston must speak out against Rep. Benton’s offensive and wrong comments. Speaker Ralston should strip Rep. Benton from his leadership position as chair of a House committee.
In truth, the Ku Klux Klan “functioned as a loosely organized group of political and social terrorists,” with a goal to maintain “absolute white supremacy in response to newly gained civil and political rights by southern blacks after the Civil War.”
And for Speaker Ralston to remain silent as a member of his leadership blitzes the media with this nonsense is unacceptable.
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