While Arkansas's U.S. Senators have roundly condemned white nationalists that rallied and rioted in Virginia this weekend, some members of the Arkansas Legislature are equating Nazis and Ku Klux Klansmen with Black Lives Matter and LGBTQ activists.
On Wednesday morning State Representative Bob Ballinger tweeted:
#WhiteNationalists, #BLM, #KKK, #Natzis, #Antifa, etc, all spew hate and violence. Reject them and their hateful ideologies. #DividedWeFall https://t.co/P0fIp33sbb— Bob Ballinger (@Bob_Ballinger) August 16, 2017
The Republican out of Hindsville in Madison County was hardly alone in his sentiment. His colleague in the upper chamber, Senator Jason Rapert chimed in earlier in the week on Facebook.
Prior to that the Republican from Bigelow made a direct comparison between Nazis and those supporting equal rights for lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender, and queer individuals. Rapert, on Facebook, was referencing a case with a florist and not Charlottesville.
"The LGBT activists who behave as Nazis are trying to ruin anyone who "disagrees" with them - even grandmothers. Simply believing in the Bible is offensive to these activists. They can't stand it if you disagree. They demand full compliance with their diminished morality. They clearly behave just like the "brown shirts" and "SS" troops that Nazis used to destroy Jews and anyone who disagreed with the Nazi ideology."
The Republican Party in Arkansas, which controls super majorities in both legislative chambers, certainly has a range of responses.
Senate Majority Leader Jim Hendren helped lead the charge on a successful bid to separate Robert E. Lee Day from Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. He tangentially commented on Charlottesville on Wednesday. Hendren and Democratic State Senator Joyce Elliott had wanted the Legislature to consider how to improve race relations.
. @xjelliott & I got a thumbs down from NW AR Dem Gaz last mon for daring to think we shld work on improving race relations #Charlottesville pic.twitter.com/YqyMjebQ9W— Jim Hendren (@JimHendren1) August 16, 2017