From the grapevine comes word that the women’s club of Floyd has voted overwhelmingly to invite racist revisionist "author" Gary Walker back to next year’s arts and crafts fair.
Floyd attorney Dale Proffit apparently left the ladies quaking in their seats with dire warnings of legal action not only from Walker but also from the hoard of Confederate sympathizers that he said would rise up in righteous indignation and haul them into court (a threat that I think is as flawed as Walker’s so-called "historical research").
The vote has fractured the membership of the club with some choosing to quit over the action and others taking self-imposed leaves of absence. It also tempts professional rabble-rousers like me to consider turning the matter into a personal crusade. I’d like to think the women’s club did not wish to see their annual arts and crafts fair turn into a bully pulpit for racism but that is exactly what they have done with their vote.
I’m not surprised Profitt was able to scare the bejesus out of the ladies although Dale is not one I would call on for advice on Constitutional law. His legal practice is mostly real estate transactions and helping locals draw up wills. Constitutional lawyers and professors say the First Amendment has nothing to do with the whether or not the ladies club can or should allow an illiterate racist author at an event supposedly dedicated to arts and crafts. As a private organization they are free to accept or ban anyone they wish.
The women’s club had a chance to show that Floyd is not a home for Southern-fried racism but, instead, they made a bad decision based on fear, ignorance and questionable advice. It is a decision they will have to live with.
No matter how loudly they claim their decision is not racist, it is — from my view as both a native-born Southerner and a Floyd Countian — at the very least a passive acceptance of racism in our midst.