Democrats in Alabama’s House Of Representatives are calling on Republican Rep. Will Dismukes to resign after it came to light that he attended an event that celebrated the birthday of Confederate Army General and the First Grand Wizard of the KKK Nathan Bedford Forrest.
The Alabama House Dems released a statement, which they shared via Twitter, noting that Dismukes’ celebration of a literal enslaver and racist occurred on the very same day that Alabamians and others honored the memory of civil rights hero John Lewis.
“The Alabama House Democratic Caucus believes Dismukes should be strongly, loudly and clearly condemned by everyone of every political stripe across the state of Alabama, full stop,” the statement read. “This is a stain not only on our history but also on our present. We call on Dismukes to resign his office immediately and educate himself and his cohorts on what his actions meant to our historically marginalized communities of color.”
According to the Washington Post, Dismukes participated in the event at a private property near Selma called Fort Dixie.
“Had a great time at Fort Dixie speaking and giving the invocation for Nathan Bedford Forrest [sic] annual birthday celebration,” Dismukes, 30, wrote in a Facebook post, which has since been removed. “Always a great time and some sure enough good eating!!”
In the image shared with the post, Dismukes could be seen standing in front of a Confederate battle flag and an image of Forrest, while in front of him were other varying flags of the failed Confederacy.
The fallout was pretty swift. In addition to the scathing rebuke by Democrats, at least three Republican lawmakers and the head of the Alabama Republican Party itself called out their colleague for the unacceptable behavior, the Post notes.
“It is one thing to honor one’s Southern heritage, however, it is completely another issue to specifically commemorate the leader of an organization with an indisputable history of unconscionable actions and atrocities toward African Americans,” state party chair Terry Lathan said in a statement. “I strongly urge his constituents to contact Rep. Dismukes to articulate and share with him their thoughts on his personal actions.”
“Rep. Dismukes offered no explanation for why he participated in a birthday celebration of Nathan Bedford Forrest. Additionally, I find his statement to be shallow in understanding why his activities are deeply offensive to so many Alabamians,” Lathan added. “His constituents will be the final decision makers of his political future.”
In another apparently deleted Facebook post, Dismukes tried to defend himself, stating that his original post “was in no way related to disrespecting the passing of Rep. John Lewis.”
“That wasn’t even a thought in my mind. That is not who I am as a person,” Dismukes added. “The post was in no way intended to seem as if I was glorifying the Klan or any party thereof. The very atrocities and actions they committed are a disgrace to our country.”
That post drew more criticism from the chair of the Democratic Party, Rep. Chris England, tweeted out an image of the poor apology before adding, “There are probably a few places in this country where someone who attends birthday parties for KKK Grand Wizards are welcome but the Alabama Legislature shouldn’t be one of them. You are either with #GoodTrouble or you are with the Klan. There is no in between. #alpolitics.”
But Dismukes apparently didn’t know when to quit, because he then turned to WSFA to double down on his fake apology and then had the nerve to fix his mouth and bemoan “anti-southern sentiment.”
“I guess, with the anti-southern sentiment and all, and the things that we have going on in the world today, there’s a lot of people that are seeming to be more and more offended,” he told the news station. “We live in a time where we literally are going through cancel culture from all different areas and people are even more sensitive on different issues and different subjects. This was just one of those times that it didn’t quite go the way I expected, and I never intended to bring hurt to anyone, especially my own family with everything that’s been said.”