Don’t Let the KKK Adopt Anything Of Ours

Anne Arundel County Executive Janet Owens deserves our praise and support for standing up to the Ku Klux Klan. We’d rather see the county’s Adopt-a-Road program scrapped or stuck in deep-freeze than give the Klan a forum for their hatred.

As you may have heard, a Klan chapter last summer requested to take part in the program in which civic organizations pick up trash along designated sections of highway. In return, a sign goes up calling attention to the groups’ good deeds.
John Gary, the former county executive, had the good sense to put the program on hold while delaying action on the Klan’s request. And now Owens, who unseated Gary in the November election, has vowed not to cave in.

The American Civil Liberties Union is right when they say that the Klan’s rights would be violated if the county bars them from participating in a public program. Let’s not travel a road that runs over the Constitution. In this case, the public good is far better served by shutting down Adopt-a-Road rather than letting the Klan take part. If it comes to that, it’s not even a close call.

We can think of little more revolting on a beautiful morning than driving by a sign that reads ‘The Invincible Empire’ or anything of the sort. Their racism is not invincible at all; hate-mongering wilts under the watchful eye of good people, black and white, working to live in harmony. And they are not an empire. They are a squalid little corner of life inhabited by a minority afflicted with a mean and destructive bent.

No virtuous people we associate with, black or white, could drive by such a sign without remembering the horrible history of white robes, burning crosses and much worse. The prospect of reliving that history may appeal to those who want to incite. But it is unthinkable to civilized people at a time when race relations often teeter in precarious balance.

We are reminded of the tongue-lashing on the radio that former Georgetown basketball coach John Thompson administered to Doug "Greaseman" Tracht. The Greaseman was fired from his morning talk show on 94.7fm last month for a slur so vile that we won’t repeat it.

"If one kid hears something as irresponsible as you said, that is dangerous to all of us,’’ said Thompson, who is black. "Can I forgive you? Yes. Can I forget? Very difficult. I am angry at you because all the things that I have tried to forget, you made me recall."

It is disturbing that in the final months before a new millennium we even are writing about the KKK. But the only thing worse than writing about evil is ignoring it.

| Issue 11 |

Volume VII Number 11
March 18-24, 1999
New Bay Times

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