State Rep. Karl Oliver, R-Winona, in a Facebook post wrote that Louisiana leaders removing Confederate monuments should be "lynched" and compared their actions to Nazis.The GOP representative of District 46 wrote the following in a Facebook post: "The destruction of these monuments, erected in the loving memory of our family and fellow Southern Americans, is both heinous and horrific. If the, and I use this term extremely loosely, 'leadership' of Louisiana wishes to, in a Nazi-ish fashion, burn books or destroy historical monuments of OUR HISTORY, they should be LYNCHED! Let it be known, I will do all in my power to prevent this from happening in our State."
Local officials in New Orleans last week finished removing Confederate-era monuments from prominent positions in the city, which, not surprisingly, was the subject of some debate. But the Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Mississippi, highlighted a Republican lawmaker who made clear what he intends to do if a similar effort is launched in his home state.
I'll gladly concede that random state lawmakers say ridiculous things with some regularity, and as a rule, turning each incident into a national news story is a Sisyphean task.But there's a legitimate conversation underway about the future of Confederate monuments in much of the South, and the fact that sentiments such as Karl Oliver's still exist -- from an elected lawmaker, publishing online for the public to see -- are a reminder about the state of the debate in some corners.The fact that this Mississippi Republican represents the community of Money -- the same town in which Emmett Till was lynched in 1955 -- makes Oliver's statement that much more striking.To their credit, some GOP leaders have denounced the Facebook posting. The Clarion-Ledger noted that Gov. Phil Bryant (R) said in a statement, "Rep. Oliver's language is unacceptable and has no place in civil discourse."State House Speaker Philip Gunn (R) added that Oliver's comments "do not reflect the views of the Republican Party, the leadership of the House of Representatives or the House as a whole."Update: It took a little while, but Oliver has now apologized. The Republican state lawmaker said in a statement, "In an effort to express my passion for preserving all historical monuments, I acknowledge the word “lynched” was wrong. I am very sorry. It is in no way, ever, an appropriate term. I deeply regret that I chose this word, and I do not condone the actions I referenced, nor do I believe them in my heart. I freely admit my choice of words was horribly wrong, and I humbly ask your forgiveness."