A racist city councilman in Georgia is choosing to resign in disgrace rather than face the music when voters go to the polls in a recall election that was called after he voiced his disdain for interracial marriage earlier this year.
Hoschton City Councilman Jim Cleveland came to the defense of Mayor Theresa Kenerly, who is under fire for refusing to hire a qualified applicant for a city position because he was a black man and her city is supposedly “not ready” for a black leader.
“I understood where she was coming from,” Cleveland said at the time. “I understand Theresa saying that, simply because we’re not Atlanta. Things are different here than they are 50 miles down the road.”
He then ranted against interracial marriage, saying it “makes my blood boil because that’s just not the way a Christian is supposed to live.”
Interracial marriage has been long opposed by racists, and was illegal across the South for decades until the Supreme Court ruled in Loving v. Virginia that such laws are unconstitutional.
Cleveland would go on to double down on his opposition even though we are living in the 21st century, and even had the audacity to claim that he’s not a racist.
“I’m not racist, but I do not believe in interracial marriage,” he said.
In response, community leaders led by former Hoschton Mayor Erma Denney formed a resistance movement calling for Cleveland to resign or be forced out in a recall election, which is scheduled to take place in January.
Desperate, Cleveland attacked Denney by accusing her of having something to gain by ousting him, an accusation she disputed in a statement to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
“Our community has coalesced around the singular goal of expunging the hateful rhetoric brought into light earlier this year by the elected officials Kenerly and Cleveland,” she said. “I get nothing out of this except to try to restore the dignity and reputation of this town.”
So far, Denney and her fellow community members are having an impact.
Rather than suffer humiliation at the ballot box over his disgusting racist beliefs, Cleveland not only resigned, he intends to leave the town.
“I’m not going to give them the pleasure of saying they recalled Mr. Cleveland,” he said. “There is a lot on the plate for Hoschton and some of it is not going to go well. It’s not going to be a good place for me to live.”
Cleveland is running himself out of town and taking his racist views with him. Now he can go someplace where his racism is more accepted, like Texas or the Trump administration.
And to that, his critics in Hoschton can say good riddance and focus their energies on ousting Kenerly.
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