News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


Supremacy group gives 'patriotic' new meaning

If your grandpappy was a Ku Kluxer and your pappy was a member of the old White Citizens Council, people might expect a bit of racism would have rubbed off on you.

People might also suspect that the Council of Conservative Citizens might have the same racial philosophy, given its roots go deep into both of the hate organizations.

So what business did George Wallace Jr. have in dignifying the group's national convention in Montgomery last weekend?

Well, he comes from a similar background, given that racism fueled his late father's rise to political power.

Remember the stand in the schoolhouse door?

In his welcoming address to the Council, Mr. Wallace, who is a member of the state Public Service Commission, said he talked about his family and about conservative values.

If, perhaps, Mr. Wallace used the occasion to praise the civil rights movement that began in Montgomery and paid homage to the late Martin Luther King Jr. for his dynamic leadership, his appearance was commendable.

But to call these white supremacists who oppose racial and ethnic inclusiveness "good patriotic people" brings shame on a state that's trying to live down its segregationist past.

"There is nothing hateful about those people that I've seen," Mr. Wallace said Monday, in trying to defuse the controversy.

If that's true, he's either not looked at the group's Web sites or he's insensitive to such things.

The Southern Poverty Law Center denounced Mr. Wallace's appearance for good cause. Mr. Wallace might be a candidate for lieutenant governor next year, and the state doesn't need that racial baggage any longer.

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