The Ku Klux Klan is still alive in America. Given the history the Klan has, it’s scary to realize America has not put this group in the ground. I should not have to say the KKK and confederate symbols are bad for this country, but this is where we are. America must commit to cutting ties with its racist past.

The U.S. is a like a person in a new relationship with equality. America says it’s committed to equality, but its ex, racism, is still allowed to hang around. Would you be happy if your boyfriend or girlfriend stayed in frequent contact with his or her ex? We’ve all seen enough movies to know these types of relationships never work out.

The KKK is one of the worst exes to have because they never know when to quit. Since the slaves were freed in the 1860s, the Klan has come and gone like the changing of the seasons. We should never forget how closely connected this country was with the Klan. In the 1920s, the Klan was marching down 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in broad daylight. Although the Klan is not as strong as it used to be, the want for them to rise again is still here.

Goodloe Sutton, publisher of the Democrat-Reporter in Linden, Alabama, wrote an editorial calling for “the Ku Klux Klan to night ride again.” When Sutton was given the opportunity to walk back and clarify his comments, he stood firmly by his opinion. It is terrifying to think people like this hold positions in the media.

On Feb. 23, two pro-Confederate groups marched in Oxford, Miss. to protest Ole Miss distancing themselves from Confederate symbols. In New Orleans, Confederate beads were thrown in a parade. Groups like the KKK and pro-Confederates are allowed to exist because this country protects hate speech. We need to remember these are more than just hate groups. The Klan is a group of murderers and the Confederacy were traitors to this country.

The Confederacy went to war with our country. The Confederacy killed thousands of American lives to preserve their way of life and maintain slavery. When a Confederate flag is waved, it is in remembrance of the people who fought to keep black people enslaved. I never understood why this country allows its citizens to honor its traitors. If the Confederate flag is the only way to honor the good parts of the South’s past, is it worth remembering? Anyone who attempts to defend the Confederate flag and the KKK needs to go to rehab.

The Klan and the Confederacy are a drug that affects too many people. Drug addicts will always find a reason to keep their drug habits. America knows this is a problem but fails to do anything about it.

This country will never reach its goal of equality if its racist past isn’t put away for good. Freedom of speech is a right to all Americans, but people like the KKK and Confederate supporters are not truly American. These two groups will never be able to operate in this country without conflict. If the Klan starts to “Ride again,” this country will have an unfixable problem. If America does not fix this problem, it’s only a matter of time before they ride again.

Donald Fountain is a 21-year-old mass communication sophomore from Saint Francisville, Louisiana.

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