Saturday, August 20, 2016

When Colorado elected a Klan governor

I was in the last year and a half of high school when we moved to Colorado so I never had Colorado history in school and that suited me just fine. The state hardly had any history to speak of anyway. The state turned only 100 years old in 1976. But neither did the United States have much of a history, for that matter, the country celebrated its bicentennial as Colorado celebrated its centennial. All of those tall sailing ships that converged on New York that birthday year had nothing to do with us. If you saw the film Unsinkable Molly Brown then you pretty much have the entire state history. Come to think of it, the Molly Brown house is a few blocks away on Pennsylvania. We are at 12th St., Molly brown house is between 13th and 14th, and Pennsylvania street is 5 of the short-sided blocks east of Broadway. We can walk there easily. 

But it’s hardly worth it. 

A mansion in its day, not nearly so now. Much smaller than the average McMansions you see all over the place, about the same size as my parents home in the foothills, except made of stone, and except loaded with garish eye-sore opulence, the garden gnome syndrome on steroids. It’s awful. Neo classical sphinxes, Greek plaques, junk all over the place. And the inside is even worse. However, the carriage house in the back is turned into an excellent gift shop. The best I’ve seen at any museum. I nearly bought a wooded boat, a replica of a Titanic escape boats, the model was perfect, it had oars for each person and even sails rolled up, all the rigging, everything. They were eager to be rid of it so marked it way down. They were asking only $100.00, easily worth double or triple that. Problem was, I had too many wooden models already. I was already carried away. And that would just make things worse. But it was perfect for top of my aquarium. I’m kind of bummed out I didn’t pop for it. But all that is beside the point.

Colorado elected a Klan member for a two year term in 1924. The Klan was all over Colorado at the time, influencing the politics of towns all over the state. Most notably Denver and Pueblo. They held sway over judges, over heads of police, they held the most seats in legislature, both Democrat and Republican. Their chief issues were Italian immigration, they were anti-Catholic and the Italians ignored prohibition for their Friday wine. That led to home wineries, speakeasies, and liquor distillation and booze running. All contrived crimes. All anti-freedom. The Klan's platform and their attraction to membership was law and order.

Oh brother.  

The single city that avoided their influence was Colorado Springs. Their police chief had Colorado Springs membership closely monitored so their usual method of secrecy was foiled. 

A klan member, a Denver University educated lawyer named Clarence Morley, and a Republican was elected governor. 

Today these are uncomfortable facts that modern day political commentators, news presenters, educators, various educational media use to condemn modern Republication party members by association. This can be understood at a glance through Google images. [colorado governor, kkk]

Look at them all.  

We can do this the easy way. The way the subject is taught by gliding blithely over the surface and leaving the substance to be filled by assumption, by presumption.  

Scroll down past the nighttime photographs of Klan gatherings, past the marches, past the burning crosses, past the parades, past the various faces of mean-looking men, past the protestors, past the black klansmen, past the threatening scrawled death notes, past the Confederate flags, past shooting victims, past the enlistment posters, past all that unhappy ugliness  to … Trump. To Romney, Trump again, Paul Ryan, Trump again, Trump, Trump, Trumpity Trump, there at the bottom of Google images, faithfully pulling up for us all this related material. They all go together, all pieces of the same puzzle.

See? They’re the same thing. At a glance, on the surface they and their party and their issues are the same: immigration and lawlessness. Their answer: law and order.

At the surface, it’s all so very clear.These issues then and now are exactly the same and with no light in between them.

They’re no fun at all, these people taken together.  Don’t ever vote for them. Don't make the same mistakes. What are you nuts? Only a creepy nut would vote for such creepy nut candidates. All the things that nice people hate. It’s all so very clear. 

This governor, Clarence Morley, went to Indiana and opened a brokerage firm. He was convicted of mail fraud and of bilking his customers and he was sent to Leavenworth for four years. Out of prison he lived another three years then died. He is buried here at Fairmont Cemetery. 

Let’s go there and deface his grave. It's okay for we are good people. Dance a jig and sing, we’re glad that you’re dead.

Do you know why Klansmen wear hooded costumes? 

Because they look this underneath. Hardly threatening at all. 


chickelit said...

Colorado's biggest beermaker was started by a guy named Adolf.

Just sayin'

Lem said...

That's the perplexing? thing about evil. The people die but the symbols live for ever.

I don't know.

edutcher said...

12 states elected Klan governors in the 20s, including IN, WA, and OR.

The Klan was huge in this country until one of the Klan's top leaders kidnapped and raped an Indiana girl who subsequently died, making national headlines.

chickelit said...

Isn't colorado the past participle for the Spanish verb colorear* [to color]? The state was pretty white when I lived there.

*The Latin infinitive would be colorare, the same as modern Italian. [past participle colorato]

P.S. Chip, there is a "Colorado" tag. Tag Lives Matter!

Lem said...

Another tip about tags/labels.

If you use the word in the title of the post, the tag is superfluous.

In other words, titles are inexhaustible tags, but tags are not.

So, when you create a new tag, which you already mention in the title, you are in effect killing a tag unlucky enough to have only been used once.

Remember, avoid new tags whenever possible, but, if you must, don't tag and drive.

AprilApple said...

hmmm - I didn't know that.

Some Seppo said...

My Mom's family settled in Colorado pre-statehood and several were in politics and business. Many were Klansmen, same as many today are in the local DNC, CoC, RNC, Masons, etc.

Here's a blurb mentioning my Mom's aunt from the Greeley Tribune, Oct 1970:

[Pardon the OCR]

Mrs. Ann. Spomer, Weld County clerk ark) recorder since 1942, is a candidate for re-election on the Republican Party ticket. Mrs. Spomer, born lii the Colorado' mining town of Coal Creek, was of nine children of the late Senator Richard Evans and Susie Jessop Evans, Shft was married to flic late Louis Sportier in 1M3. She was first appointed county clerk anc recorder to fill the vacancy created by the death of her husband.

Here's the Colorado Senate's proclamation after my Great Grandfather Richard Evans' death (second proclamation, first one is for the deceased head janitor of 49 years)

I don't know for a FACT that either Ann Spomer or Richard Evans were in the Klan (or its Ladies' auxiliary), but rumor has it that Richard was.