Editorials exist for us to read, react and act

There is no shred of doubt that the editorial that Goodloe Sutton published in his the Democrat-Reporter on Feb. 14 promotes a demonstrably false, morally irresponsible agenda that hurts minorities and political figures who were unjustly targeted.

On Feb. 14, Sutton published the editorial called “Klan needs to ride again.”

The Associated Press, The New York Times, The Washington Post and local papers in relation to Linden, Alabama (the small town the paper was published in), like the Montgomery Advertiser, have covered it.

During an interview with Sutton, he said, “If we could get the Klan to go up there and clean out D.C., we’d all been better off,” according to the Montgomery Advertiser.

After Sutton was asked by the Montgomery Advertiser to explain what exactly he meant by “clean out” Washington D.C., Sutton said, “We’ll get the hemp ropes out, loop them over a tall limb and hang all of them.”

The “them” Sutton is referring to are “Democrats in the Republican Party and Democrats,” according to the editorial published in the Democrat-Reporter, who are trying to raise taxes in Alabama. (We at The Daily Eastern News could not find an online version of the editorial, but a clipping of the print version is available in the Montgomery Advertiser article).

No matter how you look at it, this editorial is wrong.

It is morally repugnant and dishonest to call for the KKK’s resurgence in any case.

First and foremost, Sutton is wrong about what the KKK, a white supremacist terrorist organization, stands for, and he’s wrong about the damage the group has caused.

In his interview, Sutton said, “A violent organization? Well, they (the KKK) didn’t kill but a few people … The Klan wasn’t violent until they needed to be,” according to the Montgomery Advertiser.

This is just a blatantly false statement backed by no evidence.

According to the PBS, the KKK used “brutal violence” to intimidate Republican voters during the presidential election between Republican Ulysses S. Grant and Democrat Horatio Seymour.

The beatings and killings reached the thousands during this time at the hands of Klan members and other white supremacists, as “over 2,000 murder were committed in connection with the election (in Kansas). In Georgia, the number of threats and beatings was even higher. And in Louisiana, 1,000 blacks were killed as the election neared,” according to the PBS.

The KKK recruited millions of members in America as well, fostering the foundation of a white supremacist agenda within the south that spread in the country.

By 1870, the Klan “had branches in nearly every southern state,” and during the KKK’s “peak,” the white supremacist group reached 4 million members, according to History.com.

But, the publication of this editorial actually illustrates an important element to news publications as a whole: Editorials matter.

Editorials are representative of the opinion of publications. When it comes to The Daily Eastern News, the editorial board collaborates and decides what editorials will be written, to provide an example.

While the editorial published in the Democrat-Reporter has no evidence to back up the claims it makes and it promotes hate-filled ideas, it’s a good thing we as a nation read it and reacted—it’s still a good thing this editorial didn’t slip through the cracks.

We as a nation have a right to read editorials like these and make our own conclusions.

And thank goodness we’re educated and understand that editorials are representative of publications’ opinions.

Thank goodness we understand what this newspaper believes.

Thank goodness we, under the first Amendment, can openly debate these ideas and condemn an editorial such as the one published in the Democrat-Reporter as false.

And thank goodness editorials exist to expose those ideas, right or wrong, to the world.

The Editorial Staff can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].