Release: Thursday, January 28, 2016
Atlanta, GA – Today, Democratic Party of Georgia First Vice Chair Nikema Williams issued the following statement regarding Republican State Representative Tommy Benton’s comments that the KKK was quote “not so much a racist thing but a vigilante thing to keep law and order” that “made a lot of people straighten up.”
“Tommy Benton’s comments are deplorable. Georgians should seriously ask themselves if this man is fit to serve. Benton certainly does not share the values held by most Georgians.
“Benton is either an ill-informed student of history, or he has no conscience. For over a century, the KKK has operated as a terrorist organization responsible for some of the most unimaginable violence in the country. In an era where communities are working together to bridge divides, Tommy Benton seems content with spewing the kind of half-witted hatred that divides. Benton should be ashamed and his Party should denounce him.”
AJC 1-28-16 – Ga. lawmaker: KKK made ‘people straighten up’
State Rep. Tommy Benton is an unapologetic supporter of Georgia’s Confederate heritage.
He flatly asserts the Civil War wasn’t fought over slavery, compares Confederate leaders to the Founding Fathers and is profoundly irritated with what he deems a “cultural cleansing” of Southern history. He also said the Ku Klux Klan, while he didn’t agree with all of their methods, “made a lot of people straighten up” in the post-war years.
… Benton said there are two sides to that story as well. Following the Civil War, the Klan “was not so much a racist thing but a vigilante thing to keep law and order,” he said.
“It made a lot of people straighten up,” he said. “I’m not saying what they did was right. It’s just the way things were.”