AFRICANGLOBE – A Georgia lawmaker is bizarrely trying to rebrand the Ku Klux Klan.
Georgia State Rep. Tommy Benton, a Republican, claims the KKK isn’t a racist terrorist organization but nothing more than “a vigilante thing to keep law and order,” as part of his latest effort to preserve the South’s history.
Benton made the inflammatory remarks in light of a new bill, introduced Wednesday, which he co-sponsored that would preserve the Stone Mountain site in Georgia, where Confederate leaders are carved onto the side of a rock and where the KKK launched a rebirth in 1915.
Benton said the destruction of the site is akin to the “cultural terrorism” ISIS is waging throughout the Middle East.
“That’s no better than what ISIS is doing, destroying museums and monuments,” he told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
“I feel very strongly about this. I think it has gone far enough. There is some idea out there that certain parts of history out there don’t matter anymore and that’s a bunch of bunk.”
Benton introduced the bill in response to Senate Bill 294, which would forbid the state from recognizing Confederate holidays, proposed by Sen. Vincent Fort.
“For him to degenerate into that kind of name calling is beneath a response from me,” Fort, a Democrat, told the Atlanta-Journal-Constitution.
“That kind of hyperbole does not allow for anything approaching a debate. It’s unfortunate that he would use that language,” he added.
Benton’s attempts to preserve Confederate history follow the racially motivated massacre at the South Carolina historic Emanuel AME Black church last year.
After the massacre, where nine churchgoers were slain, there was widespread outcry about the Confederate flag, which was deemed racist and taken down from the state’s government buildings amid national pressure.
Benton’s most recent bill comes after his House Bill 855, which would establish Confederate Memorial Day and Robert E. Lee’s birthday as “public and legal holidays.”
Benton has voiced other controversial positions about the preservation of the South’s history, including the belief that the Civil War wasn’t fought over slavery, has likened Confederate leaders to the Founding Fathers and has completely disregarded the racist implications of Confederate symbols such as the flag.
“That flag didn’t shoot anybody and when I was growing up I had a couple of those flags. In fact I still have a couple of them. It doesn’t make me racist,” Benton told reporters in the summer of 2015.
If Benton’s bill is passed it would have to be passed by a statewide vote before it’s added to the state’s constitution.
By: Laura Bult