bookmark_borderRep. Bill Pascrell is an authoritarian bully

Representative Bill Pascrell of New Jersey recently demanded that the 126 members of Congress who joined in Texas’s lawsuit concerning the election results be barred from the capitol building.

In a letter sent to Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Chairwoman Zoe Lofgren of the Committee on House Administration, he calls the lawsuit and others like it “frivolous” and “malignant” and calls it “tragic” that some members of Congress joined to support it. He accuses these members of Congress of attempting to “demolish democracy” and to “make Donald Trump an unelected dictator.” He quotes the Fourteenth Amendment, which states that no one “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” against the United States is allowed to be a Senator or Representative in Congress or to hold any other office. 

“The courageous Reconstruction Congress implanted into our governing document safeguards to cleanse from our government ranks any traitors and others who would seek to destroy the Union,” he pompously gloats. “Stated simply, men and women who would act to tear the United States government apart cannot serve as Members of the Congress.”

Adding insult to injury, he also accuses the 126 members of violating rules of the House of Representatives that “explicitly forbid Members from committing unbecoming acts that reflect poorly on our chamber.”

Pascrell’s preposterous statements have received largely positive reaction on Twitter, which is a dismaying reflection on the state of America. 

In my opinion, it is Pascrell, and not the offending 126 representatives, who deserves to be kicked out of Congress. It is Pascrell who is committing unbecoming acts that reflect poorly on the chamber. Stated simply, he is acting like a pompous, mean-spirited, stuck-up, patronizing bully.

Far too many people today, nearly all of them on the left-hand side of the political spectrum, employ the rhetoric of “treason” and “insurrection” and “rebellion.” It is assumed that complying with authority is inherently morally good, and fighting back against authority is inherently morally bad. The Union and the United States government must be obeyed, goes this line of thought, regardless of whether its policies are just or unjust. These ideas are the very essence of authoritarianism. They are also completely contrary to the ideals upon which our country was founded. After all, America came into being as a revolution against an overreaching British government. True Americans value dissent, freedom of thought, questioning of authority, and fighting back against oppression. True Americans consider insurrection and rebellion to be good things, not crimes synonymous with treason. The type of rhetoric used by Pascrell has been employed ad nauseam against the Confederate States of America and any remaining symbols and memorials thereof, and now it is being employed against those who have the audacity to support Donald Trump. Ironically, many of these people on the left-hand side of the political spectrum, who hold these ideas that are the very essence of authoritarianism, accuse Trump of being authoritarian. Nothing could be more hypocritical or farther from the truth. 

Get off your high horse, Rep. Pascrell, and stop being such a bully towards people who hold different beliefs than you do. The fact that someone who is supposed to be a leader is acting in such a condescending, patronizing, intolerant manner is what is truly tragic.

bookmark_border“Stop honoring racist losers”

“Stop honoring racist losers.” These are the words on a sign held by a protester in Weatherford, Texas earlier this year. Like so many intolerant bullies have been doing throughout these horrible last seven or so months, this person was demanding that a Confederate statue be removed from its place in front of the county courthouse. The protest in question happened back in July, but the topic is still (sadly) relevant and I still have strong opinions about it, so it is still worth blogging about. 

At the protest on July 25, a group of hundreds of counter-protesters who support the monument arrived to stand up to 75 or so protesters who were demanding the statue’s removal. Unjustly, the media coverage largely portrayed the counter-protesters as the ones who acted wrongly. For example, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram emphasized the fact that one counter-protester allegedly punched a protester, another counter-protester allegedly slapped a protester, and some counter-protesters allegedly yelled racial slurs and threw water bottles. (This despite the fact that the video accompanying the article shows Black Lives Matter protesters initiating the pushing and shoving.) Reporter Bud Kennedy tweeted repeatedly about a “white male attacking the leader of a justice protest” and claimed that “there is no question justice protesters were the ones attacked” despite the fact that the latter claim is false, that repeatedly mentioning an individual’s race and gender is racist and sexist, and that the protest was in favor of removing a Confederate statue, which makes it the exact opposite of a justice protest. 

“We started to march, and you could hear the roar of the crowd downtown,” said one BLM protester named Karen Smith, according to the Star-Telegram. “I live here, and I have never seen a display of hate.” The lead bully who organized the protest, Tony Crawford, said, “The level of hatred I saw yesterday was something I hadn’t experienced before.” Another BLM protester claimed that their group did not “try to fight or incite any riots.” And various protesters complained that police failed to protect them.

News flash: anyone who expresses support for removing a Confederate statue is a mean, nasty, authoritarian bully who does not deserve any type of protection. It is irrelevant which side initiated physical contact. Advocating that a Confederate statue be removed is necessarily an act of aggression, and the side that takes this position is necessarily to blame for any conflict that may occur. Anyone who doubts this need only take a look at some of the signs held by the protesters: “Your heritage is racist,” “It’s not ‘Southern pride,’ it’s racist,” and the aforementioned “Stop honoring racist losers,” to give a few examples. Plus, a Facebook post by the group organizing the protest called the statue “treasonous.” How can people who insult another group’s heritage and falsely call the other group racist claim not to be initiating a fight? How can someone who crows about having won a war 150 years ago and considers it treasonous to memorialize those who fought for independence claim that the other side is the aggressor? The political correctness movement’s own signs and Facebook posts disprove their claims of having been victimized. If you go out of your way to stomp on the underdog, insult an unpopular minority, and rub salt into the wounds of the losing side of a war, you have no right to complain when the people that you are harming get angry at you and fight back. 

The blog Living Blue in Texas provided an even more egregiously biased version of events. The blogger repeatedly defamed the defenders of the statue by calling them “violent racists,” “terrorists,” and “aggressors,” and personally insulted them by calling them “toothless hillbillies.”

“The Confederate States of America no longer exists,” she pompously writes. “And until these backwoods hillbillies realize that, they will continue to harass, threaten, and assault every anti-racist working to make the world a better place. Slavery is over. The sooner that the violent racists realize it, the sooner we can start to heal.”

Except that those who advocate for the removal of Confederate statues are working to make the world a worse place, not a better one. And that those defending the statues are not violent racists, or racists of any sort, for that matter. The fact that the C.S.A. no longer exists is exactly why statues honoring it are so important. The Southern states were denied the right to form an independent nation, so to attempt to deny them the right to even memorialize their dead is beyond ridiculous. To take away a Confederate monument is to further hurt a group who are already hurting, and who have already been treated unjustly. This is the exact opposite of healing. It’s easy for someone to talk about healing when they are not part of the group whose history and identity are under constant attack. 

Jim Webster, a member of the counter-protest, hit the nail on the head with these comments to the Star-Telegram: “Weatherford citizens stood up to people who came to take down our statue, to tell us how to run our lives and, overall, be bullies… But the thing is, they came to us. We didn’t go to them. We didn’t start anything. They came over here starting stuff. And the citizens of Weatherford won’t put up with being bullied. They consider everybody who tried to protect the statue racist. You know if everybody is a racist, then nobody is a racist.”

Exactly. Enough with these people who go out of their way to trample on an unpopular minority and then claim that said unpopular minority is the aggressor. Enough with this practice of calling everything that you disagree with “racist.” If you don’t want a fight, don’t start one by trying to bully another group into removing their statue.

bookmark_borderJustice for Father Serra

An iota of good news from San Rafael, California: five despicable human beings are actually being held accountable for their decision to trespass on a Catholic church’s property and destroy a statue of Father Junipero Serra.

On Columbus Day, a group of intolerant bullies held a protest at the Mission San Rafael (I didn’t hear about this when it happened because I was too busy battling with people who were making insulting comments on my social media post about Christopher Columbus). Five of them attacked the statue, ripping off the duct tape that church employees had placed to protect it, spraying red paint all over it, writing the words “genocide” and “rape” on its pedestal, chipping at it with rocks, attaching ropes to it, and pulling it down. Police arrested these five bullies and charged them with felony vandalism. They submitted the case to the Marin County District Attorney’s Office and recommended additional charges of vandalism to a place of worship, which is a hate crime. The defendants’ names are as follows:

  • Ines Shiam Gardilcic, 40, of Oakland
  • Victoria Eva Montanopena, 29, of Oakland
  • Melissa Aguilar, 36, of Novato
  • Mayorgi Nadeska Delgadillo, 36, of San Rafael
  • Moira Cribben Van de Walker, 25, of San Anselmo

The San Francisco Archdiocese took a strong stance in defense of the statue and the Catholic community and urged the D.A. to prosecute the vandals to the fullest extent of the law. “This attack on a cherished religious symbol on our own church property is not a minor property crime, but an attack on Catholics as a people,” said Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone. “If the perpetrators of this crime are not brought to justice, small mobs will be able to decide what religious symbols all people of faith may display on their own property to further their faith, and they will continue to inflict considerable spiritual suffering on ordinary Catholic people who would see our sacred spaces as unprotected by law.” 

Protesters also demonstrated outside the D.A.’s office with signs reading “Save Our Statues” and “Vandalism is a Crime.” 

As a result of these efforts, D.A. Lori Frugoli announced on November 13 that she was bringing felony vandalism charges against the five defendants. 

Cordileone praised this decision, noting that it “represents the first time that any of the lawbreakers attacking statues of St. Junipero Serra and other acts of vandalism on Catholic Church property across California will be held accountable for their actions in a court of law.” He continued:

“The crime was caught on video. The lawbreakers came prepared with ropes, chisels and spray paint, clearly indicating forethought in committing this crime. If crimes like these are not punished, then the government is telling mobs they get to decide what symbols Catholics and other faiths may display. Given that this was vandalism at a house of worship, the San Rafael Police Department understandably recommended that the perpetrators be charged with a hate crime. Indeed, to vandalize a house of worship to express one’s views is not a mere property crime: it is an attack on the identity and rights of a whole faith community. In a diverse society we may debate and disagree about many things, including St. Junipero Serra’s legacy. But mobs do not get to trespass on other people’s holy grounds to destroy their sacred symbols. While a hate crime was not charged in this case, let us hope that this prosecution will nonetheless contribute to putting an end to attacks on all houses of worship.”

Father Luello Palacpac, the pastor of Mission San Rafael, described the act of vandalism as traumatic for his congregants and added, “Whether you agree or disagree with the historic record of St. Junipero, no one has a right to trespass on a faith community’s sacred grounds to destroy property and even more importantly the symbols of its faith.”

The San Rafael Police Department justifiably faced some criticism for the fact that officers made no attempt to actually stop the vandals from attacking the statue. According to the Marin Independent Journal, Police Chief Diana Bishop said, “It’s not last year. It’s not the year before, how police officers see something and they just run into it and take care of it. That’s how we are programmed. That’s what we want to do. We have to be more thoughtful when a property crime is occurring and a person is not being injured, and that’s what the plan was.” It would have been better if police had intervened to protect this statue before it was destroyed; in my opinion it is just as bad (if not worse) for a statue to be injured as for a person to be injured. But the police department is to be commended for charging the vandals. Far too many times, intolerant bullies have cruelly destroyed irreplaceable statues all over the world and faced no consequences whatsoever for their despicable behavior. 

Continue reading “Justice for Father Serra”

bookmark_borderNot everyone who supports Confederate statues is white

The Confederate monument in Albertville, Alabama has an unlikely defender.

As has been happening all over the country, political-correctness-obsessed bullies are demanding that a Confederate flag and monument in front of the county courthouse be removed. According to local news station WHNT, the leader of Say Their Names Alabama, Unique Dunston, called the Confederacy “ugly and hateful” and called her group’s demand that the statue be moved to a nearby museum or a nearby cemetery a “compromise.”

Daniel Sims, a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans who happens to be black, came to the statue’s defense, saying: “Regardless of how the next person feels, I’m not going to take my flag down. If I got anything to do with it, ain’t no monument going to come down… It makes my blood boil if they just come up here and feel like they can just tear it down. I don’t see me still living if they do that right there. That monument ain’t hurting nobody. That monument ain’t killing a soul. It ain’t talking bad to nobody. It ain’t even racist.”

He’s got that right. The Confederacy was neither ugly nor hateful. Its monuments are not racist and do not hurt anyone. There is no reason to take them down, relocate them, or alter them in any way. And I am skeptical of the claim that moving the monument is a compromise. The anti-Confederate bullies began by advocating relocation to battlefields, cemeteries, or museums, but now they are demanding that statues be removed from battlefields as well, arguing that placement in museums and other locations is inappropriate, and vandalizing statues at churches and cemeteries. Given the despicable and relentless assault against all things Confederate, any attempt to move any piece of Confederate iconography to a less prominent location should be vigorously opposed.

bookmark_borderSan Francisco to rename 44 schools… but at least they’re consistent

The government body in charge of the San Francisco public schools recently came up with a list of 44 schools that they have deemed to be in need of renaming. The offending namesakes include Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, John Muir, Junipero Serra, and Dianne Feinstein.

“Lincoln, like the presidents before him and most after, did not show through policy or rhetoric that black lives ever mattered to them outside of human capital and as casualties or wealth building,” said Jeremiah Jefferies, the chairman of the San Francisco Unified School District School Names Advisory Committee.

As for Feinstein, she was blacklisted for ordering a Confederate flag that had been vandalized to be replaced back in 1986 when she was mayor of San Francisco. According to Jefferies, she “chose to fly a flag that is the iconography of domestic terrorism, racism, white avarice, and inhumanity towards black and indigenous people at the city hall. She is one of the few living examples on our list, so she still has time to dedicate the rest of her life to the upliftment of black, First Nations, and other people of color. She hasn’t thus far, so her apology simply wasn’t convincing.” In addition to the fact that the Confederate flag is the iconography of none of these things, and the fact that the term “white avarice” is racist, this is a pretty ridiculous reason to condemn someone.

The committee used the below criteria for determining which historical figures are unworthy of having schools named after them:

  • Anyone directly involved in the colonization of people
  • Slave owners or participants in enslavement
  • Perpetuators of genocide or slavery
  • Those who exploit workers/people
  • Those who directly oppressed or abused women, children, queer, or transgender people (apparently oppressing and abusing men is perfectly fine…)
  • Those connected to any human rights or environmental abuses
  • Those who are known racists and/or white supremacists and/or espoused racist beliefs

In terms of eliminating wide swaths of historical figures, these ridiculously stringent criteria go further than perhaps anything I’ve seen yet. It’s difficult, in fact, to think of anyone who would meet them. But in a strange way, this is actually kind of a good thing. With historical figures who fought for the Confederacy having been brutally and relentlessly attacked, condemned, slandered, and smashed to pieces over the past months, it’s only fair that Lincoln be “canceled” as well. If you’re going to depose historical figures from their places of honor, you should at least be consistent about it.

As Jarrett Stepman of the Daily Signal wrote, “If the criteria were really taken to its logical conclusions, then it would lead to erasing pretty much every leader and people in all human history… It’s interesting that Jefferies says the agenda is about uplifting ‘black, First Nations, and people of color,’ but are not all these groups, through the lens of history, also guilty of virtually every transgression on the committee’s list of criteria?”

Stepman also pointed out the authoritarian nature of the political correctness movement. “Do what we say, or you will be smashed and erased,” he accurately characterizes this movement’s thought process. “Symbols of opposition will be torn down. You must accept our truth, or else… If anything, it teaches students to be ruthlessly intolerant, to be utterly incapable of understanding different perspectives and the limitations of human nature.”

bookmark_borderThere are no words…

Repugnant. Repulsive. Despicable. Sickening. Reprehensible. Disgusting. Disgraceful. Abhorrent. Evil. None of these words, or any words available in the English language or any other language for that matter, even come close to accurately describing the act depicted in this video:

Protesters smash Confederate statue in Portsmouth VA | Charlotte Observer

This took place during what is described as a “remove the stain” protest in Portsmouth, Virginia on June 10, 2020. Characterizing another group’s ideology and/or heritage as a “stain” is itself the very essence of bigotry and intolerance, which says a lot about this despicable movement and the people who support it. 

The act depicted in the video is the most disgusting thing I have ever seen in my life. I nearly threw up upon watching it. How someone could do this to an innocent statue, that did nothing wrong, that was bothering no one, and that was painstakingly sculpted by a talented artist, is utterly incomprehensible. It is beyond dismaying that so many people, and society as a whole, unquestioningly support and embrace a movement whose members do this. Nothing justifies this. I don’t care if your ancestors were kept as slaves in the most brutal conditions imaginable; I don’t care if every member of your family was murdered by cops; I don’t care how much discrimination you’ve experienced in your life; nothing makes it okay to do this. Nothing. 

The video of what happened to George Floyd is nowhere near being even a tenth as horrible as this. If you added together all the incidents of people being killed by cops from the very beginning of this country through today, it wouldn’t come anywhere close to the awfulness and brutality of what was done to this statue. There is no punishment that is even close to being commensurate with this crime. The death penalty is not harsh enough. Any person who participated in this act of destruction, cheered for it, or expressed support for it in any way, is a bully, an authoritarian, and a bigot who deserves a slow, torturous death. There is no place for actions like this anywhere on this earth, and I am ashamed to live in a country where actions like this are allowed to happen. I condemn this in the strongest possible terms. 

bookmark_borderFurther thoughts on Madison County monument

I’ve been reading more about the Confederate monument in Madison County, Alabama and the events that led to it being removed and the Attorney General suing the county. What I’ve read solidifies my opinion that the county was wrong to remove the statue and deserves to be sued. 

A few random thoughts:

On August 5, 2020 the monument was vandalized with red paint. This alone is enough reason not to remove the statue. To vandalize any monument is unacceptable, and the absolute last thing that should be done in such a case is to reward the culprit by giving him/her what he/she wants. Leaving the statue in place and protecting it punishes the vandal; that is reason enough to make this the right course of action. 

Immediately after the vandalism, a bully named Rebecca Boggs was quoted by local news station WHNT as saying, “I’m a very strong supporter of removing a treasonous statue that doesn’t need to be there in the first place.” This statement is completely idiotic. How can a statue be “treasonous”? Confederate soldiers bravely fought to form an independent country. Anyone who calls them “traitors” or describes them as “treasonous” is an authoritarian and a bully who believes in mindless conformity and has no tolerance for diversity. 

City Council candidate John Meredith said of the vandalism, “Regardless of where you stand, you know that the current situation can’t continue. We got to sit down, both sides, and come up with a solution.” He is correct that the situation of all-out war against all things related to the Confederacy, as well as of relentless attacks on statues and monuments of all types, cannot continue. But why do people of both sides need to come up with a solution together? This is a situation in which one side – those who love the Confederacy and its monuments – has done nothing wrong. The other side – those who hate the Confederacy and hate all things and people that do not conform to today’s standards of political correctness – is attacking, insulting, brutalizing, and stomping on the first side for no justifiable reason. The solution to this situation is for the latter group to simply stop attacking, insulting, brutalizing, and stomping on the former. To solve the problem of Confederate statues being vandalized, people must stop vandalizing Confederate statues. It really is that simple.

Particularly disturbing is the fact that during a protest on July 30, someone held a sign that read, “Human Decency $25,000. We have a choice. Pay the fine! Move that racist statue.” This is a reference to the Memorial Preservation Act, the Alabama law that bans cities, towns, and counties from removing historical monuments and sets the penalty for doing so at $25,000. First, of all, the sign states that the statue is racist, which it is not. Additionally, the sign seems to imply that human decency requires removing the Confederate monument. But nothing could be further from the truth. Human decency actually requires protecting and preserving the monument. Removing a monument to the losing side of a war is bullying, it is intolerance, it is bigotry, and it is stomping on the underdog. It is the exact opposite of human decency. 

There is also a significant fairness issue presented by the idea of paying a $25,000 fine to have a Confederate statue removed. Why should taxpayers have to foot the bill for an immoral act of bullying, intolerance, bigotry, and stomping on the underdog? They shouldn’t. The fact that cities, towns, and counties can choose to simply pay the $25,000 to remove statues demonstrates that the penalty is not severe enough. Removing statues is never acceptable, and the penalty should be harsh enough to deter these immoral acts from ever happening. If a statue is removed, which should never be the case, then those who support the removal should pay 100% of the fine. Accurately determining which people support the removal and which do not would of course be tricky, because people will obviously have an incentive to lie to avoid sharing in the burden of the fine. But there should be at least some attempt made to ensure that only those people who advocate for and support the removal of statues are penalized, as opposed to innocent people who might be opposed to the removal. 

bookmark_borderPoliticians express delight at ruining of National Statuary Hall

The National Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol building is now ruined. During the night, the state of Virginia removed its statue of Robert E. Lee. The Statuary Hall contains 100 statues (now 99) representing two noteworthy historical figures from each state, which are chosen by representatives from the respective states. Until recently, Virginia was represented by Lee and George Washington. The state is planning to spend $50,000 in taxpayer money to replace Lee with civil rights activist Barbara Johns.

In my opinion, this is an absolutely disgraceful move. Johns, who led a student walkout to protest conditions at her all-black school in 1951, is not an adequate or deserving replacement for Lee, who led the armed forces of the Confederate States of America in a valiant effort to establish an independent country. Johns was described as “brave, courageous, and fearless” by her sister, Joan Johns Cobbs. A Richmond Times-Dispatch editorial called her “a symbol of youthful courage, conviction and action” who “represents the promise of tomorrow.” And a Washington Post editorial stated that “she and Washington make a fine and fitting pair to represent Virginia.” 

Nothing could be further from the truth. Johns was nowhere near as brave, courageous, fearless, or honorable as Lee was. She is completely unworthy of standing alongside George Washington in the Statuary Hall. With Lee gone, the U.S. Capitol becomes yet another item to be crossed off my list of places that I dreamed of visiting one day. 

“We should all be proud of this important step forward for our Commonwealth and our country,” said Governor Ralph Northam. “The Confederacy is a symbol of Virginia’s racist and divisive history, and it is past time we tell our story with images of perseverance, diversity, and inclusion. I look forward to seeing a trailblazing young woman of color represent Virginia in the U.S. Capitol, where visitors will learn about Barbara Johns’ contributions to America and be empowered to create positive change in their communities just like she did.”

“The Congress will continue our work to rid the Capitol of homages to hate, as we fight to end the scourge of racism in our country,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. “There is no room for celebrating the bigotry of the Confederacy in the Capitol or any other place of honor in our country.” She also called the repugnant act “welcome news.” 

And State Senator Louise Lucas, who led the commission that recommended removing the Lee statue, said: “Confederate images do not represent who we are in Virginia, that’s why we voted unanimously to remove this statue. I am thrilled that this day has finally arrived, and I thank Governor Northam and the Commission for their transformative work.”

Let’s go over these false, mean-spirited, and irrational comments:

To say that the removal of Lee is welcome news and something that people should be proud of is so far from the truth that it defies comprehension. The idea that anyone could be proud, thrilled, or even remotely happy about this development is sickening. With Lee included in its collection, the National Statuary Hall was a place where diverse historical figures and diverse viewpoints were celebrated and honored. Now it has become a shrine to mindless conformity. Lucas is correct in calling this “transformative work,” but it is an understatement to say that this is a negative, not a positive, transformation. If Confederate images do not represent who the people of Virginia are, then that reflects badly on the people of Virginia, not on the Confederate images. And I suppose this is a step forward, as Northam called it, if one’s goal is to create a society in which all individuality, uniqueness, and independent thought are stomped out, but why anyone would have this as their goal is incomprehensible.

Contrary to Northam’s and Pelosi’s claims, the Confederacy and its statues are not symbols of racism or “homages to hate,” nor is there any “bigotry of the Confederacy.” Ironically, the only bigotry here is that demonstrated by Pelosi, Northam, Lucas, and other devotees of the political correctness movement that seeks to eradicate from the earth all traces of those who fail to conform to their ideology. The supreme irony in this situation is that Virginia had been telling its story with images of perseverance, diversity, and inclusion all along… by honoring Lee and other Confederate leaders. If Northam truly cared about diversity and inclusion, he would have left Lee in place in the U.S. Capitol and preserved and protected all of his state’s magnificent Confederate monuments instead of brutally tearing them down and spending millions of taxpayer dollars to replace them with new statues of conformist, politically correct figures. 

A country in which there is no room for celebrating the Confederacy in any place of honor is not a country in which I want to live. Political leaders have made it clear that there is no place for someone like me in this country. I am devastated, I am enraged, and I am shattered. I hate the United States of America with all my heart. The fact that people would deliberately do such a heinous act and then issue statements gloating about how happy it makes them is beyond despicable, beyond reprehensible, and beyond disgusting. Northam, Pelosi, Lucas, and any person who believes that this development is in any way positive deserve to burn in Hell for all eternity. 

bookmark_borderCuomo bans “abhorrent” Confederate flag

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo recently signed a bill banning the sale and display of Confederate flags on state property. The law makes it illegal to sell Confederate flags at state or local fairs and bans their display unless deemed necessary for historical or educational purposes. In addition to violating the First Amendment, this is yet another example of our society’s intolerant, senseless war on all things Confederate.

“This country faces a pervasive, growing attitude of intolerance and hate — what I have referred to in the body politic as an American cancer,” Cuomo said. “By limiting the display and sale of the Confederate flag, Nazi swastika, and other symbols of hatred from being displayed or sold on state property, including the state fairgrounds, this will help safeguard New Yorkers from the fear-installing effects of these abhorrent symbols.”

But the Confederate flag is not “abhorrent,” nor is there any need to “safeguard” people from it. The Confederate flag is a symbol of liberty and of Southern heritage. Even as someone born and raised in Massachusetts, who is not directly related to anyone who fought for the Confederacy, I recognize that this flag represents a nation that valiantly but unsuccessfully fought for its independence. I find this flag beautiful, glorious, and uplifting. Anyone who feels fear upon seeing a Confederate flag is ignorant as to what the flag is truly all about.

Cuomo is right about one thing: there is indeed a pervasive attitude of intolerance and hate in America that is growing like a cancer. But the nature of this cancer is the opposite of what Cuomo believes it to be. The true American cancer is the movement to obliterate, erase, destroy, and “cancel” everything and everyone that has anything whatsoever to do with the Confederacy, as well as everything and everyone that in any way falls short of the arbitrary requirements of political correctness. This movement is intolerant, it is hateful, and unfortunately it is pervasive and growing. Public support for the Confederacy and its symbols is, sadly, shrinking and shrinking as the political correctness movement increases in power. It is that movement that America needs to be fighting back against, instead of further stomping on the unpopular but honorable cause of the Confederacy. 

In addition to getting intolerance and hate completely backward, Cuomo’s Confederate flag ban also runs up against the pesky issue of freedom of speech. “A private entity can choose to sell or not sell offensive symbols but when the government bans the sale of offensive, but constitutionally protected symbols, on its property the First Amendment comes into play,” said noted First Amendment lawyer Floyd Abrams, according to the New York Post.

bookmark_borderAlabama Attorney General sues county for removing statue

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall is standing up for Confederate monuments. He is suing Madison County, Alabama for removing a statue from its location in front of the county courthouse on October 23 and moving it to a nearby cemetery. The 24-foot tall monument featured a generic Confederate soldier and was inscribed with the words, “In memory of the heroes who fell in defence of the principles which gave birth to the confederate cause.” According to the lawsuit, the statue was erected in 1905, was destroyed in 1966, and a replica monument was installed to take its place in 1968. A copy of the lawsuit can be found here

Alabama has a law called the Memorial Preservation Act, which was passed in 2017. “No architecturally significant building, memorial building, memorial street, or monument which is located on public property and has been so situated for 40 or more years may be relocated, removed, altered, renamed, or otherwise disturbed,” the law states. The law covers any “statue, portrait, or marker intended at the time of dedication to be a permanent memorial to an event, a person, a group, a movement, or military service that is part of the history of the people or geography now comprising the State of Alabama.” The penalty for any person, government, or other entity that removes, relocates, renames, or alters a monument is $25,000, and Attorney General Marshall intends to make the Madison County Commission pay.

Marshall released a YouTube video in which he spoke about the illegal removal of monuments and the general tendency of elected officials to disregard the law when it is politically expedient to do so. Here is an excerpt: 

“In recent months, we have witnessed a number of elected officials take it upon themselves to tear down monuments and statues protected under Alabama law… First, any elected official who removes a historic monument or statue in violation of Alabama law has broken the law. He has not simply decided to ‘pay a fee’ so that he can lawfully have the monument or statue removed. He has committed an illegal act. Second, any elected official sworn into office by taking an oath to uphold the law, who then breaks a duly enacted and constitutional law, has violated that oath. Third, despite what some newspapers might have you believe, any elected official who disregards the duties of his office in this manner has done so not out of courage, but has done so out of fear. This should not be celebrated, for disregarding the law subverts our democratic system… I urge my fellow Alabamians to take note of those casting votes and spending their tax dollars to violate a law of this state. It is now a question of when not if these same leaders will cast aside yet another law—being guided only by the political winds of the moment.”

I love this message, particularly the part where Marshall points out that removing Confederate monuments is cowardly, not courageous. He also makes a great point that it is unfair to taxpayers for $25,000 of their money to be spent on illegally removing a beautiful historic monument. 

In these discouraging times where bullies have been disturbingly successful in their quest to stomp out everything good in the world in the name of political correctness, it is heartening that someone is standing up for what is right. All states need to have laws like Alabama’s Memorial Preservation Act to protect priceless works of public art against racist, intolerant mobs and the craven politicians who bow down to them. It would be even better if the fine were even higher than $25,000. Removing a Confederate statue is one of the most immoral acts a person or government could do; no penalty is too harsh for such a despicable act. Thank you, Attorney General Marshall, for defending magnificent statues that cannot defend themselves.