Hoschton City Councilman Jim Cleveland claims that he chose to resign to avoid facing voters in a recall election next month. Cleveland admitted that he didn’t want to give his opponents the pleasure of saying they voted him out.
“They filed ethics complaints and when that didn’t go anywhere they started a recall against me and the mayor,” Cleveland told ABC News on Tuesday. “It went all the way through and it got approved for a recall election. My thinking of it was, ‘If they got it this far, then why go through an election and let them recall me? I’ll just resign.’
Cleveland’s comments are emblematic of dying yet a consistent sentiment throughout the United States.
A Pew Research poll results said that nearly one in five Americans believe that interracial marriage was morally wrong.
Cleveland also believes that because of his Christian upbringing and current associations with minority groups, his views aren’t racist. The ole, I’ve got minority friends excuse.
“I am still, in my opinion, a respected member of this community. I have more people, I believe, that feel the way I do about everything. But the ones that are against me are a very, very vocal group. And I’m just tired of hearing it,” Cleveland said. “They are calling me a racist and I don’t consider myself a racist and I’ll tell you why. I have very good friends that are black. I have Spanish, Asians, all kind of members in my church, and none of them consider me a racist.”
The ex-councilman acknowledged that there was a time when seeing an interracial couple would make his “blood boil,” but claims he’s become much more tolerant with age.
“I was raised in a Southern Baptist church and I have been taught to believe, and it makes a lot of sense to me, that God created all these different races and if he had wanted them all commingled into one race, he would have done it himself,” Cleveland said. “Why did he create all these races, if he didn’t mean for us to be separated by race?”
But certainly not lost on irony, the question could have been asked, “Why did God allow us to mix and create the same vital organs within us if he didn’t want us to mix?”
As of 2015, nearly one in six newlyweds were married to someone of a different race. So as antiquated as Cleveland’s views are, or those like him, they certainly haven’t discouraged couples from intermarrying.
To be fair, Cleveland’s position on interracial marriage did spark outrage in the community and around the state, which prompted swift calls for his resignation.
State representatives on both sides of the political aisle in Jackson County, which includes Hoschton, rebuked his statements and even hosted an event to encourage residents to file ethics complaints against him and the local mayor.
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