June 14, 2011
Originally published September 28, 2003
I went through Robbinsville, North Carolina, in 1990 and happened to catch a Ku Klux Klan demonstration in front of the county courthouse. About a dozen assholes in bedsheets and hoods stood there looking ridiculous while about 50 tourists and rubber-neckers took pictures of them.
I was with Dora then, and we were on our way for a week of camping at Joyce Kilmer State Park. "I wish those people wouldn't do that," she said as we drove by.
"What?" I responded. "You don't want people taking pictures of idiots in bedsheets?"
"Rob, you know what I mean. I don't like the Klan making the South look bad the way they do."
I said, "Dora, I LOVE IT when I see something like this. Look at the crowd. They resemble the people who pay 25 cents to watch a geek bite the head off a live chicken at the local fair. They aren't looking at those assholes in sheets as anything other than freaks. I wish that they wouldn't look at all, but what they're doing now is a damn sight better than cheering those morons."
That's how much the South has changed since I was a child. Nobody but Jesse Jackson takes the Klan seriously anymore, and he's beating a dead horse. A common joke where I live is "What has twelve feet, five teeth and six bedsheets? A meeting of the Ku Klux Klan."
As long as people regard the KKK as a bunch of freaks, we're making progress in this country. When people start to regard Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton the same way they regard the Klan, we'll be close to where we need to be.
But we'll get rid of the Klan LONG before we get rid of Jesse and Al. Some freaks still get a lot of attention.
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