Back in June, a Ku Klux Klan chapter in Union County, Georgia wanted to Adopt-a-Highway. (Let that sink in for a moment… Irrational hatred of black people? They’re fine with it. Litter on the side of the road? NEVER!)
The Georgia Department of Transportation said no to them. And that led to a lot of speculation over possible lawsuits… was this discrimination? Did the government have a right to deny a hate group from doing something that’s actually really good for the community?
Well, to no one’s surprise, the KKK has sued the state of Georgia and they’re being represented by the ACLU:
“We decided to take this case because it is such a clear violation of the speech rights of the group,” said Debbie Seagraves, executive director of the ACLU of Georgia. “We can’t let that slide.”
Good for the ACLU for defending them. I know people will complain, but representing them doesn’t mean the ACLU supports the KKK’s mission. This is simply about supporting their right to unpopular, even hateful, speech.
The state’s spokespeople are making an awful case in their defense:
“A state road sign with ‘KKK’ on it would betray our values and would rightly offend the vast majority of Georgians,” said Brian Robinson, spokesman for Georgia Governor Nathan Deal.
The KKK offends me, too, but in this particular instance, their values don’t matter. They’re volunteering to clean a one-mile stretch of road and their beliefs shouldn’t be taken into account.
It’s possible the state will argue that they’re only rejecting the KKK because it’s a “discriminatory organization.” However, if we’re playing that game, then I’m guessing several church groups would also be disqualified.
It shouldn’t have come to this. Letting the KKK clean up the trash would’ve been good for the group as well as the community. And I’d rather have groups solving problems rather than creating them.
And, as I’ve said before, if Georgia really wants to stick it to the KKK, just give them a stretch of highway and then name it after a civil rights leader (“The Rosa Parkway”?).
(Thanks to Joe for the link!)