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Georgia State Rep. Tommy Benton is on a mission to “preserve” the history of the South and the Confederacy, and in the process, he is apparently standing up for the KKK.

According to Benton, the Ku Klux Klan “was not so much a racist thing but a vigilante thing to keep law and order” that “made a lot of people straighten up.” These comments were made by Benton as part of an attempt to stop what he calls the “cultural cleansing” of Southern heritage.

“That’s no better than what ISIS is doing, destroying museums and monuments,” he told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC) in reference to recent efforts to remove Confederate symbols, especially the flag, in the South. “I feel very strongly about this. I think it has gone far enough. There is some idea out there that certain parts of history out there don’t matter anymore and that’s a bunch of bunk.”

To that end, Benton has proposed two bills. One of the bills would prevent the removal of the image of Confederate leaders from Stone Mountain in Georgia, reading: “heroes of the Confederate States of America … shall never been altered, removed, concealed or obscured in any fashion and shall be preserved and protected for all time as a tribute to the bravery and heroism of the citizens of this state who suffered and died in their cause.”

A second bill would establish Confederate Memorial Day and Robert E. Lee’s birthday “public and legal holidays.”

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