Alabama Newspaper Publisher Calls for KKK to 'Night Ride Again' and 'Clean Out' D.C.—with Nooses in Tow

Illustration for article titled Alabama Newspaper Publisher Calls for KKK to 'Night Ride Again' and 'Clean Out' D.C.—with Nooses in Tow
Photo: iStock

In what continues to be a truly wild February for the books, the publisher of a small-town Alabama paper published an op-ed calling for the Klu Klux Klan to clean out Washington, D.C.—nooses preferred.

Advertisement

The Valentine’s Day op-ed (after all, what better way to express your love of democracy by inciting the optics of a race war?) was written by Goodloe Sutton and appeared in the Linden, Alabama paper, the Democrat-Reporter. It was spurred, ostensibly, by the threat of increased taxes coming out of Washington, D.C.

To beat back this tax hike, Sutton, the paper’s editor and publisher, called for the Klu Klux Klan to “night ride again” and raid the city; specifically targeting Democrats and “Democrats in the Republican Party.”

In a largely unreadable piece, Sutton called a potential tax increase “socialist-communist idealogy [sic]” alongside other claims which I’m frankly still trying to make sense of (h/t to the Montgomery Advertiser):

People who do not understand the constitution do not like to be responsible.

Slaves, just freed after the civil war, were not stupid, At times, they borrowed their former masters’ robes and horses and rode through the night to frighten some evil doer. Sometimes they had to kill one or two of them, but so what.

This is the same so what used when Democrats got us into World War I and World War II. Then they got us fighting in Korea. Next, when the industrial northeast wanted more money, they got us in the Vietnam war, and now into the Middle East war.

Pressed by the Montgomery Advertiser on whether he really meant to call on a known white supremacist organization known for domestic terrorism to raid D.C., Sutton didn’t back down.

“If we could get the Klan to go up there and clean out D.C., we’d all been better off,” Sutton told the paper.

Advertisement

There’s not much subtext there, but when the Advertiser asked Sutton to elaborate on what exactly “cleaning up” meant, he went whole hog with the racist symbolism, saying lynching would be ideal.

“We’ll get the hemp ropes out, loop them over a tall limb and hang all of them,” Sutton told the paper.

Advertisement

But this wasn’t racist lynching, Sutton clarified. By “them,” he meant “socialist-communists,” he said. He also compared the KKK to the NAACP, claiming that the former was neither racist nor violent.

“A violent organization? Well, they didn’t kill but a few people,” Sutton told the Advertiser. “The Klan wasn’t violent until they needed to be.”

Advertisement

It’s easy enough to laugh at a story like this—which itself seems to be a conglomeration of stereotypes and clichés. Here goes this old, buffoonish white man writing an op-ed for an Alabama paper few have ever heard of (and will quickly forget), containing an inane cluster of sentences that, without the racist provocation of invoking the Klan, would just sound like a hot pan of half-baked drivel with a shiny, Joseph McCarthy-esque glaze.

Except what Sutton is positing isn’t an entirely new or outlandish concept. Not when American presidents specifically, and American politicians generally, have explicitly supported or benignly ignored the Klan. Not when the current resident at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue has himself enacted policies and harnessed rhetoric that would have the modern-day Klan stomping and cheering.

Advertisement

What Sutton called for is nothing short of domestic terrorism, the kind which is a real threat—particularly to religious minorities, people of color, and the LGBTQ community. And data shows us it’s a threat that has only grown in recent years.

Advertisement

Sutton was schooled by none other than Chip Brownlee, editor-in-chief of The Auburn Plainsman, Auburn University’s student newspaper. The Plainsman shared Sutton’s op-ed on Monday.

Here’s what Brownlee had to tell the Advertiser:

Granted, I’m the editor of a student newspaper, but all newspapers should be held to the highest ethical and moral standards. Editorials should be about new ideas, constructive criticism and opinion backed up by facts. To call for the return of domestic terrorism — no matter its form — is counterproductive and wrong.

Advertisement

Sutton said he welcomed feedback on the piece, either through phone calls, letters, or a boycott. So uhmmm, do with that what you will.

Staff writer, The Root.

DISCUSSION

jd02121
Nunna Yorz - American Justice Is A Joke

“It’s easy enough to laugh at a story like this”

Well, he does give anybody with a half a brain something to make fun of. You could make fun of his blatant ignorance when it comes to history. He thinks the democratic party is why the US got into WWI and WWII. Nevermind the fact that prior to political pole shift in the 60s, he and his KKK man-crushes would have been Democrats.

Or you could make fun of the fact that he doesn’t know how words work. He calls democrats “socialist” and “communist” as if they’re synonyms even though they’re completely different concepts. I wonder if he drives on public roads, has ever called the police or the fire department, or has any relatives on Medicare. If so, I wonder how he feels about those socialist things that he probably takes for granted every single day.

Or you could make fun of his blind, stupid racism. He didn’t even use the contemporary dogwhistle of comparing BLM to the KKK like a savvy Fox News host would. He reached to the bottom of the racist grab-bag and compared the KKK to the NAACP. Plus you just know he thinks the Civil War was about “states’ rights” and all the other bullshit that people who romanticize the antebellum south still choose to believe, despite all known facts to the contrary.

The calls for violence are almost lost in this screed of bigotry and willful ignorance, written so horribly that any middle school English teacher would flunk him. While those calls are troubling, don’t expect this newspaper editor to lose his job or be sued. Don’t expect any action to be taken against him. Nope, another incitement of violence by another “economically anxious” white guy isn’t even going to even make a wave. Its frustrating, and sad at the same time. Its also mentally tiring. So we have to laugh to keep from crying.