In Georgia, reaction to KKK banner is a sign of the times
The town issued an official statement saying that “Dahlonega is a welcoming community for people of diverse backgrounds” and that “recent episodes are not indicative of a change in our character or philosophy.”
The students called off the boycott and declared victory.
And now it was a sunny afternoon on the town square.
People were stopping by the candy shop, or wandering down the aisles of antique shops where Kenny G was playing through the speakers, or eating a sandwich across from the building where a KKK banner had been.
“Yeah, it’s the site of one of the last major gold rushes,” a man standing on the square said to a woman, explaining what he knew about Dahlonega.
“Do you have this in a large?” a woman asked at a T-shirt shop.
Reverend Webb, home this afternoon, said he was heartened to see how so many people had taken a stand. “Dahlonega is a sacred place for everybody,” he said.
At the same time, he said, the episode was not simply about the banner. To him, it was about a banner that had appeared after an election in which the new president had said certain things that had appealed to white nationalists and other hatemongers, whether he intended to or not, opening the door to events that could spiral out of control.
“The atmosphere he’s created in America today has caused people to think they have some kind of power again,” he said. “I thought that before, and I still do.”
Doles [white supremicist], who was out driving in his truck, said he agreed with this assessment. He had been on the way home from the gym when he first saw the banner and the flags, he said, and thought to himself, “It’s been a long time coming.” He said he had recently raised his own flag for the first time in years — the American one, because he finally feels pleased with the direction of the country.
“In the last 50 years, I didn’t think we had the votes to elect a governor, much less a president,” Doles said. “And yet here we are today.”