This past weekend Effingham residents reported that leaflets, placed inside a rock-laden bag, were distributed promoting the mantra of the Ku Klux Klan.
At least the rocks have a modicum of value.
The fliers allegedly bore the name of the Loyal White Knights of the Klan in Pelham, North Carolina, including a hotline and website. The most valuable aspect of the site I could find was a $15 T-shirt; but only in sizes large and extra-large. Evidently small folk, like minorities, Jews, homosexuals and door-to-door vacuum salespeople (I just threw that one in because honestly, who does admit door-to-door vacuum salespeople?) aren’t welcome.
As a south of the Mason-Dixon resident for most of the past 30 years, I find the entire concept of the Klan to be ludicrous. Then again, I find people who believe Fox News talk show hosts kind of funny too.
I was in Memphis, Tennesee, just over a year ago when a Klan rally was held downtown. Hundreds of law enforcement and government agents mobilized. Streets were blocked off and residents warned of impending violence. What really happened was a group of about 20 white-robed individuals realized asphalt-laden downtown Memphis is REALLY hot in August — that nobody was even curious of their message — and within a couple of hours they slinked off to their respective holes.
I was in Waynesboro, Georgia, a town that could be recognized as the epitome of a Klan community — when nearly a hundred took to the streets in a well-publicized parade.
Hundreds, if not thousands, lined the parade route.
They were black and white, young and old and in unison, as if practiced, they individually turned their backs to the marchers as they chanted down the pavement.
The reality is, I’ve heard more vitriol hate speech at a main stream political party stump stop and was pleased no rocks were available in much of that audience’s hands.
So what does the Klan communique really mean in Effingham?
It means that somewhere amidst our minions, someone believes separation is superior to inclusion.
It means that in a community that, for the most part, welcomes diversity, a few reside in the shadow and fear of that which is different.
It means Effingham is a microcosm of the world in which we reside and that we, as a community, need to be ever vigilant to be inclusive of all, despite race, color, creed, sexual preference or political belief.
The Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan reason that the nation our forefathers fought for (our white forefathers that is) is under attack.
Nevermind their revisionist history that ignores America’s creation by a diverse people that were European, Scandinavian and Indian.
The most valuable settler, history books forget to include, was an Indian named Squanto who was abducted prior to the Pilgrims, raised in Spain and learned enough English to talk his way back to his home in Plymouth where he taught settlers how to survive through the winter without turning to cannibalism.
There are well-documented histories of Native American and settlers marrying and raising mixed-race children and despite the Klans contention, not all were Christian.
The Klan blames government-controlled sitcoms (at least now I know who to blame for bringing us “Cavemen”); states the majority of our children are on drugs, pregnant and raising mongrel babies and then blames Jewish individuals for television because, I guess, the government wasn’t bad enough.
Effingham Police Chief Mike Schutzbach suggested that since distributing fliers is not illegal, residents who don’t like the literature should throw it out.
I think we should do much more. I think we should open our doors, and our arms, to neighbors. We should understand that it’s our diversity, of beliefs, skin, experience that makes Effingham an extraordinary community blessed with a people who don’t consider failure an option. I believe the fliers actually can make us more vigilant that we are a community of inclusion.
All that and a bag of rocks can help a tight-knit community bond even more.