Less than an hour’s drive from Joplin is a town called Marionville, located about 14 miles south of Interstate 44. The town’s website describes it as,
a charming community located in the heart of the Ozarks in Lawrence County, Southwest Missouri. Marionville has a population of white squirrels, which is one of a handful of such populations in the United States.
Visitors come to Marionville in hopes of catching a glimpse of our white squirrels.
I kid you not. White squirrels.
The entire country had a chance to meet one of those white squirrels recently. His name is Dan Clevenger and you’ll soon find out where he hides his nuts. In the mean time, in case you’ve never seen a white squirrel, here’s a picture of one:
Dan Clevenger owns an engine repair shop in Marionville. And, uh, he’s also the mayor.
In Marionville, not only are the squirrels white, but most of the population of 2200 is too. In other words, the town is like a lot of towns here in the Ozarks, without the white tree rats.
Mayor Clevenger is now famous for talking nice about the Jew-hating white supremacist who killed three Christians at two Jewish community sites in Overland Park, Kansas, this past weekend. One of the victims was a 14-year-old boy, who was killed along with his grandfather, who had brought the young boy to audition for a singing contest. The other victim was a 53-year old woman who was visiting her mother at a nearby senior living facility. The killer, Frazier Glenn Cross (aka Frazier Glenn Miller and Glenn Miller), lived near Marionville and was a “friend” of Mayor Clevenger’s, who told KSPR of Springfield that although the murderous white supremacist’s biased beliefs remained strong over the years, the mayor “kind of agreed with him on some things, but I don’t like to express that too much.”
As KSPR noted, though, the squirrely white mayor wasn’t always so reluctant to express his views:
Nearly a decade ago, Clevenger wrote a letter to the editor of the Aurora Advertiser.
“I am a friend of Frazier Miller helping to spread his warnings,” wrote Clevenger. “The Jew-run medical industry has succeeded in destroying the United State’s workforce.”
The letter continued.
“Made a few Jews rich by killin’ us off.”
He also spoke of the “Jew-run government backed banking industry turned the U.S into the world’s largest debtor nation.”
Years later, Clevenger’s views haven’t seemed to change.
“There some things that are going on in this country that are destroying us. We’ve got a false economy and it’s, some of those corporations are run by Jews because the names are there,” he said. “The fact that the Federal Reserve prints up phony money and freely hands it out, I think that’s completely wrong. The people that run the Federal Reserve, they’re Jewish.”
Now, it’s not that Mayor White Squirrel supports what Frazier Miller did. He made sure to tell us that he is against violence and that he doesn’t hate anyone and that the killer “didn’t have any right to that and I think he should pay with his life.” Good for the squirrel. But he made no effort to repudiate Miller’s basic views or the views he himself expressed a decade ago. When Talking Points Memo tried to talk to him yesterday, he said he’s “done doing interviews.”
The problem is that when Mayor Clevenger wrote in defense of the white supremacist ten years ago, he knew what kind of man he was. Frazier Miller had founded the White Patriot Party in 1980, “a paramilitary, Christian Identity faction of the Ku Klux Klan.” In the late 1980s Miller was accused of plotting to kill civil rights activist Morris Dees of the Southern Poverty Law Center. He was eventually convicted of threatening Dees and of weapons violations, then ratted out 13 of his fellow haters as part of a plea bargain. Miller served three years in federal prison.
I wrote about Frazier Glenn Miller four years ago in a post titled, “Whites Unite! And Take Our Country Back!” At the time he was running for Missouri’s U.S. Senate seat (eventually won by Roy Blunt) and I dared to compare part of Miller’s white supremacist message with what I saw going on in the then-flourishing Tea Party. When a commenter challenged me on that comparison, I wrote:
Who was I supposed to compare this stuff to? Teapartiers are running all over the country yelling, “We want our country back!” Well, it turns out, so are the white-wing nuts. In fact, if you view the video from the 1980s of Glenn Miller’s White Patriot Party, you will hear the following points advanced:
1. Liberals are ruining the country.
2. Abortion is murder.
3. The government is the enemy.
Granted, all of the above is set in a context of white supremacy, but so is much of the rhetoric of the extremists in the Tea Party movement. See Tom Tancredo’s speech at the Tea Party Convention, for example. When teapartiers say, “we want our country back!” who is the “we“? You know who they mean, as well as I do. The frequent references to the Founders just reinforces the point.
As I pointed out in the Globe last June, people like the late Samuel Francis and MSNBC’s Pat Buchanan and other sulkers over the god-awful drift away from our “European” (read: white) roots, lament the state of our culture because white folks are losing control of it. While this isn’t the kind of in-your-face racism that Glenn Miller represents, it is related to it.
I stand by what I said in 2010. What the mayor of Marionville represents, besides white squirrels, is the kind of angst among white people that I have been writing about since I started this blog more than five years ago. Sure, almost all white people worrying about the state of the culture and their place in it as white people obviously condemn what Frazier Glenn Miller did in Overland Park. I want to make it clear that I am not accusing tea partiers or other Republicans of supporting hateful and murderous violence against non-whites or non-Christians or anyone. What I am saying is that to the extent that ideas motivated Frazier Miller to murder, those ideas are related to the angst that so many white people, especially in the South, feel these days, especially these days when an African-American is sitting in the White’s House.
The lastest example of what I am talking about happened in just the past few days. Hank Aaron, one of the greatest baseball players of all time, wrote a piece for USA Today in which he said,
Sure, this country has a black president, but when you look at a black president, President Obama is left with his foot stuck in the mud from all of the Republicans with the way he’s treated. We have moved in the right direction, and there have been improvements, but we still have a long ways to go in the country. The bigger difference is that back then they had hoods. Now they have neckties and starched shirts.
A lot of white people don’t want to hear that these days, particularly coming from a black man. When Aaron was about to break Babe Ruth’s homerun record in 1974, he famously received all kinds of hate mail and death threats. After his USA Today newspaper article was published, the Atlanta Braves, for whom Aaron works, was the conduit for more up-to-date hate, according to the paper’s sports columnist Bob Nightengale:
Sheer racism, exposed in vile letters directed to Hall of Famer Hank Aaron, have poured into the Atlanta Braves offices over the past week.
Yes, it was like 1974 all over again, the year Aaron broke Babe Ruth’s all-time home run record, with letters laced with the most hateful epithet known to African Americans.
“Hank Aaron is a scumbag piece of (expletive) (racial slur)” a man named Edward says in an e-mail to the Braves front office obtained by USA TODAY Sports.
Edward invokes the epithet five times in four sentences, closing with, “My old man instilled in my mind from a young age, the only good (racial slur) is a dead (racial slur).”
With that, happy Jackie Robinson Day!
On a day when Major League Baseball celebrates Robinson, who broke the color barrier April 15, 1947, in one of the most momentous achievements of the civil rights movement, we have these letters to remind us of the racial hatred that still exists in this society.
Yes, of course. Racial hatred still exists. Against blacks, against Jews, against whomever it is that threatens the longstanding dominance of white culture in America. And although a small-town mayor here in southwest Missouri is quick to denounce the violence that, fortunately, only occasionally accompanies such racial hatred, he and too many others are not so quick to denounce the ideas that precede the violence.
Finally, from the AP:
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has ordered flags to be flown at half-staff on Thursday and Friday to honor three people shot to death at two Jewish sites in Overland Park.
Dr. William Corporon and his grandson, Reat Griffin Underwood, were shot and killed Sunday outside of the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City. A third victim, Terri Lamanno, was shot moments later at the Village Shalom, a Jewish retirement complex.
Memorial services for the three victims are scheduled on Thursday and Friday.