All the talk today is about our Mr. Radley-esque neighbors to the map-oriented left, and their attempt to keep their well-maintained yard* “100% American”.
And I don’t want to change that subject, but I’ve been reading John M. Barry’s Rising Tide about the 1927 Mississippi River Flood. In it Barry shows historical context for the fight between famed Mississippi power-broker LeRoy Percy and the Ku Klux Klan by giving an overview of how the KKK became more powerful all over the country in the 1920s (e.g., KKK-backed mayors elected in both Portland, Oregon and Portland, Maine).
He brings up our beautiful snow-capped posh neighbor to the North, and mentions that Colorado had perhaps the most KKK dominated politics in the nation at the time. And then he gets on to telling the story of horrific events leading to that ’27 flood. Events having little to do with water, really, and more to do with the raging torrent of paranoid humans acting poorly.
I did a bit of looking around, and found a few webpages on the subject of Colorado and the Klan. I offer them this morning as geographic and historical context to our current neighborly shenanigans:
- Canon City Klansmen (and women) and the Benedictines
- Pueblo succumbs and Colorado Springs overcomes the KKK
- Burning crosses over Denver 1924, and the statewide perspectives
- It might have a nice bar, but the Brown Palace in Denver hosted the first KKK initiation in town
Speaking of bars, much of the KKK energy in Colorado was spent railing against intemperance during Prohibition times, right down to outlawing sacramental wine (which just happened to be part of Catholic ceremony) and wine-making (which just happened to be practiced by Italian “foreigners”).
The nationalities and excuses might change, but the irrational hatred never does. “Us v. Them” will always be in style, encoded upon our social DNA.
Or at least it seems that way on days like today, and back in 1924.
*Keeping their yard literally well-maintained is likely to become much, much more difficult in coming months. The blogger uses “well-maintained” here referring to the mistaken notion that removing everything “foreign” from a landscape solves problems and/or makes things “better”.