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A Rural South Afternoon -- With the Nazis

Life is a freak show. Living proof of that flourished over the weekend in a savage garden in rural Georgia's Paulding County.

There was the bar owner riding a horse and brandishing a giant Confederate flag. There were about three dozen NAACP protesters, spiffily attired in yellow T-shirts. There were about the same number of counter-demonstrators. There were cops, including SWAT teams, far outnumbering protesters — with all the homeland security accoutrements, such as choppers and high-tech gadgetry.

Oh, yes. Then, there were the Nazis.

In a field behind the Georgia Peach bar on Buchanan Highway, skinheads and other assorted racists happily listened to their brand of music, got drunk, lifted weights, eyed each other's tattoos — while toddler Aryans bounced in an inflatable castle.

One gent's shirt displayed an African-American family with the legend "Justified Homicide." Swastikas were everywhere. A pretty strawberry-blonde named Misty had a portrait of Adolf Hitler stretched across her racially pure bosom.

An über-marketer was selling Third Reich art reproductions. "I'm South African," he said, sounding much like Gov. Terminator, "but I think very German." I asked, "German today or German 60 years ago?" He replied, "Oh, hah hah, very funny. German 60 years ago, of course."

I picked up a Klan recruitment leaflet — for, as it proclaimed, "only White, non-Jewish American Citizens." I was astounded to learn from the roughly printed document that the KKK "is the only movement than can save America."

Georgia Peach owner Patrick Lanzo has a knack for turning racist imagery into marketing. The NAACP fell right into his trap in protesting a sign in front of his bar that includes the N-word. Or were they protesting the skinheads' "Hammerfest 05"? I never did get that straight.

One skinhead had that rapid fire, "I'll explain the world" sureness of all political extremists — right, left, fascist or neoconservative. He told me the best thing that had happened to America recently was letting poor blacks from New Orleans get swamped by Hurricane Katrina. "Too bad more didn't die," he said.

On the way back, I stopped for coffee in Marietta, picked up a newspaper and read how Republican stalwart Bill Bennett had proclaimed, "If you wanted to reduce crime ... you could abort every black baby in this country." Oh, sure, he tried to qualify the thought, but the signals were there. And the message wasn't much different than the ones being touted in the field behind the Georgia Peach bar. Welcome to America.

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