On Sunday, April 13, a man by the name of Frazier Glenn Cross shot and killed three people in an attempt to put his white supremacist views into action. A grandfather and his teenage grandson were killed outside of a Jewish community center and a 53-year-old woman was killed near a Jewish retirement home. These tragedies came just as Jews all over the world were preparing to celebrate the religious holiday Passover. Cross, who has a long history of hatred and anti-Semitism, was also once a member of the Ku Klux Klan. Yet, despite Cross’ sordid past, he has managed to make a few surprising friends who seem to share some of his hateful beliefs. Now, in the wake of the Kansas City shootings, a Missouri mayor has resigned amid allegations that he shares anti-Semitic views with “former” friend Cross.
The former mayor of Marionville, Missouri, Dan Clevenger, has apparently known Cross for quite some time. In interviews Clevenger has given since the shootings, it has been uncovered that Cross was a former frequenter of the mayor’s engine repair shop. Clevenger described Cross as a “nice guy” who gets “carried away” with his beliefs. He went on to describe Cross’ respect for elders, as long as they shared his same skin color. Moreover, although the Missouri mayor does not appear to condone Cross’ actions, he does seem have anti-Semitic views of his own: “Kind of agreed with him on some things… ” said Clevenger, who is supposedly no longer friends with Cross, “… but I don’t like to express that too much.”
Other examples of ex-mayor Clevenger’s anti-Semitic beliefs come as he resigns in the wake of the Kansas City shootings. One can examine writings he submitted ten years ago to the Aurora Adviser, wherein he talks about his relationship to the shooter and shows support for Cross’ beliefs: “The Jew-run medical industry has succeeded in destroying the United States workforce.” The former mayor of Marionville has also made negative statements regarding Jewish people who he believes “run things,” such as the Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Reserve. He also targeted House of Representatives minority leader Nancy Pelosi, who he believes to be Jewish. Pelosi is actually Catholic.
Now that the 59-year-old anti-Semitic ex-mayor’s “true colors” have been revealed, Marionville has apparently decided to take action. After a community outcry called for the impeachment of Clevenger, a meeting was called to decide his fate. After a 4-1 alderman vote in favor of impeaching the mayor, who had only been in office since April 10, Clevenger announced his resignation. The meeting itself has been described as tense, with at least one supporter speaking out in favor of the mayor and calling others in the room just as hateful if not more so.
However, many residents of Marionville and surrounding areas are pleased with the outcome. According to one resident, John Horner, “We simply cannot tolerate a public official who makes anti-Semitic comments.”
The St. Louis Regional Director of the Anti-Defamation League chimed in, saying she is overjoyed at how Marionville “… came together to condemn the anti-Semitism… that former Mayor Clevenger represented… He was right to resign in response. He got the message loud and clear.” As the Missouri mayor resigns in the wake of the Kansas City shootings, one may wonder: “Who else in the local community shares Cross’ anti-Semitic beliefs?”
Opinion by Josh Taub