January 29, 2016 10:59 AM
Senator Vincent Fort has introduced a bill that would prevent the State of Georgia from celebrating holidays that honor the Confederate States of America. This is a debate that we can have in Georgia, but Rep. Benton’s response does not indicate that a thoughtful, high-minded exchange of ideas will be forthcoming.
“That’s no better than what ISIS is doing, destroying museums and monuments,” said Benton, according to the AJC. I am not sure that’s exactly the same thing, but here we are.
The context for this bill and the heated rhetoric is the controversy involving Stone Mountain, and its role in the formation of the Ku Klux Klan was on Rep. Benton’s mind as well. 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 continued. “I’m not saying what they did was right. It’s just the way things were.”
In opposition to Fort’s bill, Rep. Benton has introduced two bills, one to protect the Stone Mountain carving, and the other to restore the Confederate holidays to the state calendar. You may recall that Governor Deal removed Confederate Memorial Day and Robert E Lee’s birthday from the calendar last year.
Senator Fort for his part, seemed inclined to let it alone. “For him to degenerate into that kind of name calling is beneath a response from me,” Fort, D-Atlanta, said.
This is gonna be one heck of a laser show.