There is much to be proud of in Arkansas, especially in our politics. We have produced a popular president from one side of the aisle and a popular presidential candidate from the other side. Despite our feuding and fussing, we seem to be civil overall, and despite a few political scandals — and which state doesn’t have those — Arkansas seems to be a fairly sane state.
But now we have to save ourselves from ourselves. Type “Arkansas” into any news search engine recently and you will receive stories from around the nation that could have been pulled from the front pages a century ago.
Three candidates for public office have been all but ostracized from the state Republican party for statements made or written about slavery, Muslims and — wait for it — child death penalties. Truth is definitely stranger than fiction because if we had invented these characters, no one would believe they could truly exist.
Let’s let these men speak for themselves. First there is Jon Hubbard, a first-term of the state House of Representatives, who called slavery “a blessing” and who said black people are not contributing to society. He also spoke of immigration in terms of Nazi Germany.
“... the immigration issue, both legal and illegal ... will lead to planned wars or extermination. Although now this seems to be barbaric and uncivilized, it will at some point become as necessary as eating and breathing.”
Loy Mauch, another state representative, tends to be a big fan of slavery, stating that Jesus and Paul didn’t condemn it. He despises Abraham Lincoln and organized a conference in 2004 calling for the removal of the Lincoln statue in Hot Springs and highlighted by a speech which was an homage to John Wilkes Booth.
Charlie Fuqua is a former representative running for a spot in the state House, and his statements may be the most bizarre. Sadly, it’s not the belief that “all Muslims should be deported” or that the left side of the aisle “is the enemy of Christianity.” Those statements are probably held by more people than we care to count. No, Fuqua has stated that there should be a way to administer the death penalty for rebellious children, and he uses a verse from Deuteronomy as his foundation.
Through their words, these three have defined themselves as unfit for any type of public service, and thankfully, the Republican Party has ceased support, both financial and otherwise, for these men. But it doesn’t change the perception from outsiders that it’s just those crazies from Arkansas. And that’s what is most embarrassing.