We condemn Rep. Karl Oliver for his reprehensible Facebook post calling for a lynching.
It does not matter whether you agree or disagree with New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu and the City Council, which voted in December 2015 to remove four Confederate monuments from the city, you should not condone murder as a means of political expression.
And Oliver, R-Winona, did not simply call for the murder of the “leadership” of Louisiana, he called for their lynching. Even in the best light, his words are as dark as midnight.
Oliver claims he’s concerned that history has been erased in New Orleans, but he has forgotten his own state’s history. Lynching has been a blot on our state for decades.
The lynching of Emmett Till, in Oliver’s own House district, played a major role in the civil rights movement, but went unpunished even though the murderers boasted about the killing to a magazine reporter.
But that was then, one of the darkest eras of our state. That was then, until now. Oliver has dredged up those horrors, those images of black men killed for having the audacity to register to vote.
That is the history Oliver holds so dear.
House Speaker Philip Gunn on Monday morning condemned Oliver’s statements.
“They do not reflect the views of the Republican party, the leadership of the House of Representatives or the House as a whole. Using the word ‘lynched’ is inappropriate and offensive. We call on Rep. Oliver to apologize.”
Thank you, Speaker Gunn.
Democrat after Democrat has renounced Oliver as well. Senate Caucus Leader Bill Stone and House Caucus leader David Baria issued a joint statement Monday morning.
“As members of the Mississippi Legislature we wish to condemn in the strongest terms possible the remarks of one of our colleagues concerning lynching of public officials involved in the decision to remove confederate memorials in our neighbor state. The use of such inflammatory rhetoric in the context of public discourse is repugnant and does damage to the considerable advances that have been made in healing wounds caused by state-supported racism of the past.”
We await the apology and the condemnation by the rest of Mississippi’s leadership team.
The editorial represents the views of the Sun Herald editorial board. Opinions of columnists and cartoonists are their own.