Texas Democrat: KKK should have been part of hearings on radicalism
March 13, 2011 - 2:09 pm
This foolish Democrat is not Sheila Jackson Lee. Nope — this one is Rep. Al Green. Kerry Picket caught up with him after last week’s terrorism hearings, and found him seething that the hearings on the threat of radical Islamic terrorism should have covered the Ku Klux Klan.
REP. Al GREEN:I think that all criminals should be prosecuted. I think that all terrorists should be investigated which is why I said we ought to investigate all of them and that would include the KKK. Over a hundred years of terrorism why not investigate them too. They are rooted in a religion as well. Check their website out. You’ll see.
KP: Congressman King said they haven’t caused as many problems and…
REP. GREEN:Well ask the men who have been castrated whether they caused a problem. Ask the men who were lynched whether they caused a problem.
KP:When did that happen recently, sir?
REP. GREEN: Does it have to happen recently, and they are still existing for us to investigate them?
If you never had to live with a cross burning, you don’t appreciate what a cross burning can do in terms of terrorizing people. My suspicion is, based on what you’re saying to me, that I should say to you, I hope you won’t defend the KKK.
KP: I don’t have any plans to, sir.
REP. GREEN: I hope you won’t defend the KKK.
There’s audio at the link.
No defending of the KKK on the party of Picket, or elsewhere.
Since the hearings didn’t cover that repulsive but largely defunct terrorist group, here are a few facts about them. The KKK was founded by a group that included Nathan Bedford Forrest, a Confederate general, after the end of the Civil War. In many ways, the Klan was the terrorist wing of the southern Democratic Party for the next several decades. If Klan had an opposite in the GOP, it would have been the Grand Army of the Republic, a Union Civil War veterans group that included black and white members and favored full civil rights. The KKK’s rise was tied to its links with the Democratic Party in the South, and to help from Democrats in Washington. The Klan’s first targets were freed slaves, freed by a Republican president, and Republicans across the south, among whom were the first blacks elected to political office and some of the nation’s first successful black businessmen. A Democratic president, Andrew Johnson, vetoed the first post-Civil War civil rights bill, passed by the Republican-controlled Congress. The first Republican president, Abraham Lincoln, had been assassinated by a Democrat actor, John Wilkes Booth, putting Johnson into the Oval Office. Booth was among the most prominent actors in America at the time, and was known for his “Copperhead” Democratic views supporting the South and slavery.
It was a Democratic president, Woodrow Wilson, who would give the racist, pro-Klan film Birth of a Nation (its original title was The Clansman) a rave review after a private screening in the White House in 1915. Wilson, the Progressive Democrat, was arguably the most racist president in US history, at least after the Civil War. He generally gets little if any criticism for his terrible record on race: His Postmaster General segregated the Washington DC postal HQ, and the Departments of the Treasury and Navy followed suit. Wilson’s policies of segregating the federal government would last until undone by the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 60s. That the civil rights movement succeeded is testament that the KKK’s power is broken.
The KKK was one of the most noxious, retrograde forces ever to appear on the American stage. Its full history deserves exposure. The problem with adding the Klan to hearings on radical Islamic terrorism is that, on the one hand, the Klan is not truly transnational and hasn’t been a real force in the US in several decades (thankfully, or as someone in a racially mixed marriage, they would be a direct threat to me and my family), and on the other hand, the Klan has nothing to do with radical Islamic terrorism. The Klan’s terrorism was of a different age; radical Islam is a massive global threat, right now.