Tuesday, April 5, 2011

When a small town becomes international news.

I mentioned this case earlier this semester, but now that the former Grand Dragon of the Florida KKK is running for mayor, even reporters in England are covering it. Lake Wales, my home town, has a population of 10,000 and is a dot on the map, but since it is irresponsible enough to allow someone with Mr. Rogers' background to still be active in local politics, it gets international attention.

From www.dailymail.co.uk:

Former KKK clan member running for town mayor says: ‘I was in the boy scouts too’

They are a racist hate group with a long history of violence but now one former Klu Klux Klan member is running for mayor in a southern Florida city.
John Paul Rogers has his sights set on becoming the next mayor of Lake Wales believing he would be the perfect 'fair minded' ambassador.

Democrat Mr Rogers insists he left his high-ranking position as Florida Grand Dragon within The United Klans of America 30 years ago.

In its heyday in the 1950s and 1960s the organisation was the largest and most violent KKK group in America.

In 1988 it disbanded after losing a $7million civil law suit for its role in the murder of a 19-year-old Alabama teenager Michael Donald in 1981.

According to The Times newspaper, Mr Rogers has refused to apologise for his past, saying: 'If being against communism, against drugs and in favour of states' rights is wrong, then I'm wrong.

'I was in the Boy Scouts and the Cub Scouts and nobody ever asks me about that.'

US news website WTSP said the 70-year-old had dismissed criticism as 'muck-raking and character assassination.'

WTSP reports Mr Rogers described himself as 'fair minded' who has 'never disrespected anyone or violated anyone's rights.'

It's not the first time he has caused a stir in the city. His past emerged when he was elected District Commissioner in 2008 for a four year term.

Voters will decide whether Mr Rogers should be their mayor on April 5.

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