Published January 21, 2005
Let's not kowtow to terrorist groups
Re: "Court lets Klan pick up trash, and in doing so protects liberty," Jan. 12 "Our View."
I can only speculate about the logic the Supreme Court reached in its decision to allow the Ku Klux Klan to participate in the road cleanup program. This ruling makes it possible for every terrorist organization from al-Qaida to the Nazi party to get its name on road signs and be legitimized as a public service organization.
I am the last person to question First Amendment free speech protections. But the KKK is nothing more than a terrorist and criminal organization whose surviving victims still grieve the murder, terror and torture committed at the hands of this enemy of American democracy.
The "no comment" opinion issued by the court will keep everyone guessing for a while. However, there are historic insights into this decision. Conservative government bodies (the Supreme Court, Congress and successive administrations) will always secretly pander to right-wing reactionaries who conspire to take the rights of African-Americans. Moreover, the government's wink and nod maintenance of domestic terrorist organizations like the KKK reflects the broader racist ideology of the conservative agenda and the Republican Party as a whole.
The only safe haven for the KKK has been whatever mechanisms of politics, business or religion that white Christian conservatives control at any given moment. Conservative jurists across the country have historically turned a blind eye to the criminal activity of the Ku Klux Klan and consistently prosecuted blacks in the cruelest and most unusual ways imaginable. The recent weak case presented by the state of Missouri to the Supreme Court regarding the Klan was doomed to failure and all participants in this travesty knew so from the beginning.
Nothing short of economic reparations will undo the horrors of the Supreme Court's Plessy vs. Ferguson (separate but equal) decision. It is the Klan that enforced that evil decision with cruel effect for more than 100 years. The high court is not likely to betray the army of bigots that served its racism so well for so long.
I will never forgive the Ku Klux Klan or any who stand with them.
Clarence Brewer, Springfield, is a local musician and artist.