bookmark_borderMemorializing the memorials

I recently came across an article about the removal of a Confederate monument in Isle of Wight, Virginia. Shortly after the monument was taken away from its location outside the county courthouse, someone left Confederate flags at the site, presumably to honor the monument and to express opposition to the removal. 

This idea of memorializing memorials is something I fully support, although it is sad that such a thing is even necessary because the whole point of a statue or monument is that it is supposed to be permanent. 

This reminds me of something similar that I did earlier this year. I paid a visit to the empty pedestal near the waterfront where a statue of Christopher Columbus once stood, before he was brutally beheaded and then heartlessly removed by the city of Boston. I left flowers and a note on top of the pedestal in memory of Columbus and the statue that was unjustly taken away.

I left these flowers on the empty pedestal of the Christopher Columbus statue in Boston.

Returning to the topic of the Confederate monument and the flags left in its place: naturally, government officials and black supremacist activists had criticism for even this small, modest gesture of dissent. 

County Supervisor Rudolph Jefferson said: “The flags were removed because they showed a negative point of view of the county.”

The comments of Isle of Wight NAACP President Valerie Butler were even more objectionable: “It disturbs me very much but I’m not surprised. Our only intention was to remove the monument from the courthouse. What was the purpose of putting the flags there? We hope the removal is a new beginning for the community to come together and have an open dialogue.”

As is frequently the case, these comments demonstrate a complete lack of empathy. After deliberately taking an action that inflicted harm and pain on innocent people, Jefferson will not even allow the people he harmed to express their pain or mourn their loss. And Butler, in addition to being unable to comprehend the idea that people might hold opinions that differ from hers, also contradicts herself. She expresses her hope that people will have an open dialogue at the same time as she calls it disturbing that someone had the audacity to express a dissenting point of view.

Just like with all statues, the removal of this monument is indeed a new beginning: the beginning of a world with nothing beautiful, nothing good, and nothing that makes life worth living. Why anyone would consider this a positive thing is the true mystery here.

bookmark_borderBLM activists threaten to turn memorial chair into toilet

One of the arguments frequently made by the intolerant bullies who oppose Confederate monuments is that battlefields, museums, and cemeteries are more appropriate locations for these statues than city parks and town squares. But now, the existence of anything Confederate-related, regardless of location, has become intolerable for BLM supporters. A group of them stole a Jefferson Davis memorial chair from a private section of the Old Live Oak Cemetery in Selma, Alabama. These idiots sent a letter to the United Daughters of the Confederacy, telling them that they would turn the chair into a toilet unless the organization displayed a banner with a quote by black supremacist terrorist Assata Shakur, who murdered a police officer. 

“The rulers of this country have always considered their property more important than our lives,” the banner read. Fortunately, the UDC did not display it, and police managed to recover the chair unharmed. Stanley Warnick, Kathryn Diionno, and Stanley Pate were charged with the theft. 

The thieves explained their actions as follows: “The common thread between now and then is the criminal justice system. That’s where the racial caste system is preserved today, much like these monuments. Why did we steal a chair? To make a point. To redirect the conversation back to what matters, people, not property.”

These statements make no sense. First of all, I’m not sure what any alleged racial caste system has to do with Confederate monuments. Second, the BLM movement and those who share their politically correct, intolerant way of thinking are the rulers of this country, while those who support the Confederacy are an unpopular minority with no power, so the vandals have that completely backwards. Additionally, statues and monuments are what matters, yet they are being treated as if they are completely worthless, so the vandals have that completely backwards as well. Technically, memorials are property, but they are essential parts of a world in which life is worth living. Without beautiful statues and monuments honoring a wide range of viewpoints and causes, the world is dull, bland, and empty and there is no point in people being alive. Statues and monuments are also the physical representations of now-dead historical figures, and harming them is an attack on those heroes’ lives and legacies, just as harming a living person is an attack on that person. Historical statues and artifacts are what matters, they are what it is important, and they are what the conversation should be about. They deserve far more respect and protection than they have been given.

Comments on Twitter about this unfortunate incident are, as usual, infuriating:

In the one instance in which someone actually made a reasonable comment, another individual, apparently thinking he/she was being clever, made a completely nonsensical reference to Mein Kampf. What does Hitler’s autobiography / manifesto have to do with a memorial chair to Jefferson Davis? 

Also, they did nothing wrong? Seriously? The thieves most definitely did so something wrong.

As for the call to get the sledgehammer… really? The fact that someone would take delight in the prospect of a historical artifact being smashed to pieces with a sledgehammer is beyond reprehensible. I cannot understand how someone could be so filled with hate and cruelty that he/she would demand the violent destruction of another person’s property that is located on private land and not hurting anyone, merely because it is related to the Confederacy.

These people, and their vicious hatred for anyone who is different from them, are sickening. 

bookmark_borderPossible justice for statues in Arizona

In Arizona, there is hope that some semblance of justice may finally be meted out for those who have brutally destroyed statues. State Rep. John Kavanagh introduced a bill that would make it a felony – punishable in some cases by more than 3 years in prison – to damage any statue or monument.

“A statue to somebody, a gravestone of a relative, a statue to an event, is an edifice that either one person or for most of these now an entire community put up,” said Kavanagh. “It’s a statement by the community… and that is what is being desecrated.”

In Arizona, a Confederate memorial at the state capitol building was tragically removed, as was a statue of Jefferson Davis near the Jefferson Davis Highway. 

The AP article on this topic characterizes the statue destroyers as “civil rights protesters,” a characterization with which I strongly disagree. By physically destroying irreplaceable works of art that memorialize people from history, these protesters are not standing up for rights but trampling on the rights of not only the people who love the statues, but also the people whom the statues represent. 

Naturally, these “civil rights protesters” and their ideological allies have expressed opposition to the bill that would represent a small step towards justice. “Instead of targeting the community who want these statues gone, who have watched their ancestors’ perpetrators be admired for centuries, let’s work with them and create an America we all can celebrate,” said Shelby Young of the Arizona Coalition for Change. 

But an America without Confederate statues is not an America that I could ever celebrate. History is my passion, and the Confederacy is a crucial part of that. What I love about history is its diversity. I love to learn about and celebrate people from a wide range of time periods, nationalities, and cultures, with varied ideologies, personalities, and viewpoints. Honoring only one side in a war is not diversity. An America without Confederate statues is an America stripped of its diversity, beauty, and character, a soulless expanse of land with a mindless, conformist populace and no national identity. Watching America turn into such a place breaks my heart, makes my blood boil, and makes me feel sick each and every day. That anyone would consider this an America worthy of celebrating is incomprehensible. To consider this an America that everyone can celebrate is not only incomprehensible but utterly lacking in empathy. 

The destruction of Confederate statues is the destruction of what makes life worth living. Those who destroy statues are trampling on the rights of people who feel differently than they do. These intolerant bullies do not deserve cooperation; they deserve punishment. They deserve to be targeted, because their actions are despicable. 

“A lot of these monuments are ones that have a very bad history and those are the only ones that are being targeted right now,” said Sen. Martin Quezada. “What this does is it further criminalizes the efforts of a community to make a better statement, a counterstatement, to say that we no longer celebrate those types of values. We no longer celebrate slavery, we no longer celebrate veterans of Confederate history. We have multiple monuments in the state of Arizona that do continue to celebrate that, and my preference is that we all join together to tear those things down.”

These comments completely miss the point. What constitutes a “very bad history” is a matter of opinion, as it what constitutes a “better” statement. The claim that “we no longer celebrate those types of values” is bigoted and intolerant. Different people have different values, and that is exactly the way it should be. There is no requirement that everyone celebrate the same values, and the world would be a far worse place if there was such a requirement. To some people, Confederate monuments are a good thing, and the actions of the BLM movement are a step in the wrong direction. Those who destroy Confederate statues are attempting to impose their own values on everyone. They are attempting to eradicate from the earth anything that represents any set of values other than their own. This is bigotry, this is intolerance, this is bullying, and this is trampling on the underdog. These actions demonstrate a complete disregard for the rights of minorities. These efforts deserve to be further criminalized, because they are despicable. 

As for Quezada’s preference that we “all join together to tear those things down”… forgive me if I don’t care one iota what his preference is. Quezada’s preference is that the world be stripped of everything that makes life worth living and that people who love Confederate history be sentenced to a lifetime of heartbreak and agony. And then, adding insult to injury, he has the gall to express his hope that we join together with him to make this happen. Obviously, Quezada does not care a whit about my preferences, so why should I care about his? Call me crazy, but I prefer a world that actually contains goodness, beauty, and diversity, a world in which life is worth living. That’s why I strongly support this bill and pray that it becomes law.

bookmark_borderGood news for a change: young Jeb Stuart monument

In the demoralizing wasteland of 2021, good news is difficult to come by. But a small piece of this rare commodity came into existence on February 9, when Laurel Hill, the birthplace and boyhood home of General James Ewell Brown “Jeb” Stuart, erected a monument to the young cavalryman.

Seeing the pictures on Facebook brought a smile to my face and a little bit of much-needed joy to my heart.

Although the monument is relatively modest in size, it’s heartwarming to see a Confederate statue actually being put up instead of taken down.

Check out the Jeb Stuart Preservation Trust’s Facebook page for more excellent content.

Additionally, more information and pictures can be found at Laurel Hill’s official website.

bookmark_borderAlabama votes to save statues

In this era of all-out assault against everything Confederate, statues will remain relatively safe in Alabama, at least for the time being. This week, Alabama’s House Judiciary Committee voted down legislation that would weaken the protections in the the 2017 Memorial Preservation Act, which forbids cities and towns from taking down monuments over 40 years old and fines them $25,000 for doing so. 

Rep. Juandalynn Givan, who sponsored the legislation, characterized it as a “reasonable compromise” and said that opposition was motivated by racism, according to the Associated Press. “We are in the state of Alabama and there is still much to be done with regards to the issues of the Confederacy and the beliefs of those individuals who believe in the Confederate monuments, in the Confederate flag,” she said. “Dr. Maya Angelou once said, ‘When people show you who they are, believe them.’ They have shown who they are.”

These sentiments are deeply wrong for numerous reasons. First of all, opposition to removing statues is not motivated by racism. It is motivated by the fact that a world without statues honoring a wide variety of historical figures, including Confederate ones, is not a world worth living in. As someone on the autism spectrum who loves historical figures more than anything else in the world, I have spent more days than I can count over the past year crying, screaming, and being completely overcome by grief and despair because of the devastating destruction that has taken place. The enormity of the damage that Givan and those who share her beliefs have inflicted is impossible to convey in words. There is nothing racist about opposing the complete destruction of everything good in the world.

With respect to Givan’s claim that her legislation is a reasonable compromise: when a person or group of people is attempting to obliterate from the world everything that makes life worth living, compromise is not the appropriate response. The only reasonable option is to restore all of the Confederate statues and symbols that have been taken away. Opening up the possibility for removing even more statues should not even be considered an option.

Additionally, it is disturbing to read Givan’s comments about “the beliefs of those individuals who believe in the Confederate monuments, in the Confederate flag” and how “there is still much to be done” about this. What kind of person views the existence of people with dissenting opinions as a problem to be solved? This is totalitarian and is the ultimate in bigotry and intolerance.

Finally, it is true that opponents of Givan’s legislation “have shown who they are.” They have shown that, unlike Givan and supporters of the legislation, they believe in tolerance and inclusion. They believe in honoring a diverse array of historical figures. They believe in a world that actually contains beauty, goodness, and things that make life worth living. I’m not sure why Givan considers this a bad thing. 

According to the AP article, Rep. Mike Holmes, a brave defender of statues, was asked about “the feelings of slave descendants” and replied that there is no proof the Civil War was about slavery or white supremacy. He is 100% right. I would add an additional response of my own: the feelings of slave defendants matter the same amount as the feelings of anyone else. The fact that someone was descended from slaves does not give that person the right to inflict unbearable agony on other people. The fact that someone was descended from slaves does not give that person the right to obliterate all beauty, all goodness, all uniqueness, all diversity, and all hope from the world. It does not give a person the right to trample on the rights of those with different backgrounds, values, and beliefs.

The Southern Poverty Law Center issued a statement complaining that “these dehumanizing symbols of pain and oppression continue to serve as backdrops to important government buildings, halls of justice, public parks, and U.S. military properties.” They also complained that “preservation laws prohibit communities from making their own decisions about what they want to see in their public spaces.”

To call Confederate statues “dehumanizing” is the farthest thing possible from the truth. Confederate statues are beautiful, wonderful, amazing, glorious, and inspiring. It is their destruction that is truly dehumanizing. Removing statues divests the world of everything that makes life worth living. It destroys hope. It treats people like me, who love history, as if our feelings do not matter, as if our wishes do not matter, and as if our happiness does not matter. Anyone who does not see this has no soul.

On the SPLC’s other point, prohibiting communities from making decisions about which statues should be allowed to exist is actually precisely what the law should do. No one should be able to remove any statue, ever, because that violates the rights of the people who like the statue. Once a statue is built, it should remain forever, and no one should be able to take it down. Therefore, Alabama’s Memorial Preservation Act is morally right, and all states should enact similar laws. It is excellent news that this law is staying in place. 

bookmark_borderSilent Sam: UNC Chapel Hill’s destroyed Confederate statue

The amount of destruction of historic statues that has taken place over the past months and years has been absolutely overwhelming. As a result, I admittedly haven’t been able to read and absorb all of the news as it’s been happening. As painful as it is, I’ve been spending the past couple of weeks catching up on old news stories about various incidents of statue vandalism and removal. One article that I came across is about Silent Sam, a Confederate statue that called University of North Carolina Chapel Hill home until August 20, 2018, when he was destroyed by protesters. As with all acts of destruction committed against statues, I condemn this despicable action in the strongest possible terms.

In the article, history professor Anne Bailey describes Silent Sam as a “powerful symbol of white supremacy” and “a divisive symbol of white supremacy” who “was meant to pay tribute to those who wanted to maintain slavery.” She also writes that “Confederate statues, therefore, represent a step backwards – a symbol of what the United States once was – not what it is now.”

In my opinion, Confederate statues are not symbols of white supremacy; they are simply symbols of the Confederacy, a short-lived nation that, like all nations, had various attributes, some admirable and some less so. And representing a step backwards is not necessarily a bad thing; there’s no reason why the way the country used to be is necessarily inferior to the way the country is today. (The pervasiveness and widespread acceptance of attacks on statues such as Silent Sam weighs heavily in favor of the argument that the U.S. was a better place in the past than it is now.)

As for the claim about being divisive, those who use this term seem to be assuming that it’s a bad thing to display any kind of symbol that is liked by some people and not others; in other words that only universally liked symbols should be displayed. But this is a recipe for a uniform, bland, sterile, conformist society containing nothing interesting or distinctive and no diversity. Not every monument or memorial, not every piece of public art is going to be liked by everyone, and there’s nothing wrong with that. That’s why tearing down statues is so wrong. Perpetrators claim to be carrying out this destruction in the name of diversity and inclusion, but what they are doing is contrary to these ideals. Destroying works of art because you do not like them violates the rights of those who do and demonstrates a complete disregard for their preferences and viewpoints.

Bailey also writes:

Today, the nation is experiencing what some call a civil war over statues. The only way to avert this new civil war – in some ways a symbolic one over the outcome of the original Civil War – is to have dialogue. And after dialogue, actions must follow. It could be that protesters who toppled Silent Sam acted out of a sense that dialogue had reached a standstill after years of debate. Communities may decide to take the statues down or replace them with monuments that honor abolitionists like Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, William H. Seward or Thaddeus Stephens. They may also choose to keep the Confederate statues intact with a plaque that gives a more balanced view of the causes of the war.

While dialogue is always a good thing, Bailey seems to be assuming that the only options to be discussed are getting rid of Confederate statues or adding plaques that profess a negative view towards the Confederacy (Bailey’s idea of a more balanced view of the causes of the war isn’t necessarily everyone’s). The option of leaving the statues completely as they are isn’t mentioned, let alone the option of adding more Confederate statues in places that do not currently have them. In this way, Bailey is presuming the truth of what she is trying to prove, namely that Confederate statues are bad. The idea that someone might consider the statues just fine as they are, or even want new ones to be built, isn’t even acknowledged as a possibility.

bookmark_borderAnother day, another defamatory blog post

I came across another defamatory blog post by Michelle Davis at Living Blue in Texas, in which she insults the Confederate statue at Parker County Courthouse in Weatherford, Texas, as well as those who support it.

“There is no question about it, Progressives in Parker County are modern day civil rights activists standing up to hate in their own town,” she pompously gloats.

As usual, Davis repeatedly defames people who support the Confederate statue by calling them “racists” (and also defames the statue itself by calling it a “racist statue”). Also as usual, she personally attacks those who disagree with her, calling the Confederate flag a “loser flag,” categorizing opinions that are different from hers as “garbage,” describing statue supporters as “doing some type of circle-jerk around the statue,” and referring insultingly (and falsely) to the statue as “their precious ode to white supremacy.” And also as usual, she refers to them as “counter-protesters” with the derisive quotes, which makes no sense because the people she is describing actually are counter-protesters. 

First, Davis criticizes the statue supporters for arriving early and surrounding the monument to defend it before a recent protest, writing, “they still think that their Black neighbors are going to burn it down, despite they’ve never burned it down in all of the dozens of protests they’ve had this year.” First of all, I’m willing to bet the statue supporters aren’t just concerned about the possibility of black people vandalizing the statue; the statue-destroying, politically correct mob contains people of all races. Second, I’m not really sure why Davis expects the statue supporters to stop defending their statue just because it hasn’t been vandalized yet. There’s always a chance that protesters could vandalize the statue, so it’s wise to physically protect it just in case. (Also, a flyer advertising the protest contained the words “smash racism,” which could reasonably be interpreted encouraging vandalism. If you use the word “smash” in your own flyer, you have no right to ridicule people for being concerned that a statue might possibly end up being vandalized.)

Davis describes comments on the Sons of Confederate Veterans Facebook page as “hateful and racist” and displays screenshots of numerous comments, none of which are hateful or racist. Ironically, Davis’s blog post contains a photo showing a protester with a sign reading, “Black & brown built this town, time to take the statue down,” which is more racist than any of the pro-statue Facebook comments Davis is criticizing. (Is it really true that no white people had any part in building the town of Weatherford? I’m willing to bet not.)

“Likely, these people don’t even realize how hateful and ugly they look,” Davis writes of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and other statue supporters. Except that they do not look hateful or ugly at all. They are standing up for a Confederate statue, which is neither hateful nor ugly. It is actually Davis who looks (and is) hateful and ugly for ridiculing and defaming those with different views than her.

“They’ve been lied to their entire lives and were likely indoctrinated into white supremacy when they were kids and it is now intertwined with their identities,” Davis writes. “It is Living Blue in Texas’ opinion that old racists likely will never learn or understand inclusion.” First of all, speculating about why people hold the views that they do is inappropriate. Davis is not in a position to know what her ideological opponents’ upbringings or backgrounds were like. Presuming that anyone who holds pro-Confederate views must have been “indoctrinated” as a child presumes that pro-Confederate views are false, because it denies the possibility that someone could have arrived at such views through careful and deliberate thought. Second, it’s absolutely hilarious that Davis writes about inclusion when she is arguing that a monument must be removed because the cause that it commemorates is not popular in the year 2020. It is the exact opposite of inclusion to defame, ridicule, and obliterate the history of an already marginalized group. But that is exactly what Davis and the Progressives of Parker County are doing. Clearly, they are the ones who do not understand inclusion.

Then, Davis describes an incident at the recent protest in which an anti-statue protester, Tony Crawford, asks the counter-protesters to “prove that the Confederacy wasn’t racist.” Does she not realize that this isn’t how the burden of proof works? It’s the burden of those who think the Confederacy was racist to prove that it was racist, not the other way around. 

And then she glowingly and admiringly describes an incident in which another anti-statue protester, Jessica Luther-Rummel, “pressed some of these racists for their names” and “told all of the white supremacists standing around that they could all go get f***ed up the a**.” How classy. Why exactly would someone consider it a good thing to treat people this way?

Davis complains about “the racism, hate, and violence” allegedly perpetrated by her opponents and criticizes them for being “full of hate and rage.” She complains that statue supporters allegedly threatened members of the anti-statue group but completely ignores the repugnant behavior of those on her own side, as well as the inherent intolerance and injustice of their cause. It is the anti-statue protesters who are truly practicing racism and hate. And it is completely understandable that people would be full of rage when they have been treated the way that Davis, Crawford, Luther-Rummel, and the rest of the anti-statue bullies have been treating those with different views.

And finally, in case there was any doubt that Davis and the Progressives of Parker County are the true bullies, she closes by gloating about how “the Confederate traitors were defeated by America.” Anyone who considers it “treasonous” to rebel against an oppressive government is an authoritarian and a bully. Yes, the Confederacy was defeated by the United States due to the latter being more populous and industrialized, but I am not sure why someone would consider this something to brag about. Which side won a war and which side lost has nothing to do with which side was morally right. Anyone who has the belief that military strength determines moral right and wrong is, you guessed it, an authoritarian and a bully. 

“It’s baffling how any non-racist can see what’s been happening in Weatherford and not have the urge to stand with or support the Black community and their allies in their efforts to remove this symbol of white supremacy from the lawn of the halls of justice,” writes Davis. Actually, Davis makes it very easy to resist standing with her side. Her mean-spirited, contemptuous treatment of other people reminds me of the bullies that I dealt with in elementary and middle school. There is no place for ridicule and personal attacks in our discourse, and the sheer volume of these that Davis has put forth on her blog makes my brain hurt. The Progressives of Parker County are the furthest thing possible from “modern day civil rights activists standing up to hate.” They are mean, nasty, intolerant bullies who are trampling on the underdog, ridiculing anyone who disagrees with them, and attempting to obliterate from the world everything that does not conform to their narrow definition of political correctness. 

“Enough is enough,” Davis writes. Yes, it is. 

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_borderConfederate supporters are not white supremacists – rebutting a libelous blog post

This happened a while ago, but I just came across an extremely wrong and offensive blog post describing a protest at a Confederate monument in Gainesville, Texas.

The author, Michelle H. Davis at Living Blue in Texas, repeatedly uses the terms “white supremacists” and “racists” to describe people who demonstrated their support for the Confederate monument. She uses these terms as if they are simply non-controversial, factual terms for these demonstrators, but the use of these terms is completely false and therefore defamatory. There is nothing racist or white supremacist about supporting the Confederacy or defending its monuments. It is possible that someone could support the Confederacy for racist reasons, but it is just as possible (and actually more likely) that one would support the Confederacy because the Confederacy rebelled against the federal government. In other words, I (and many other people) support the Confederacy because it stands for the values of liberty, freedom, individual rights, resistance to authority, and thinking for oneself as opposed to mindlessly conforming to social norms and complying with existing power structures. That is what the Confederate flag and Confederate monuments mean to me, so it is completely unwarranted to assume that anyone who supports these things is racist. 

Davis also describes the pro-Confederate group as “counter-protesters” with derisive quotation marks as if to imply that they are not actually counter-protesters. Given that these individuals were demonstrating their opposition to a different group who were advocating for the removal of the monument, they actually were counter-protesters, and there is therefore no need to insultingly put this term in quotes. She also falsely calls the counter-protesters “domestic terrorists” and describes one of the leaders of the counter-protest as a “moron,” which is a completely classless way to describe one’s ideological opponents. Plus, she posts pictures of counter-protesters and asks readers to contact police if they recognize them, which is a form of harassment and bullying. 

Davis claims that the pro-Confederate group “were clearly the aggressor,” which is false because necessarily, the group that is advocating for the removal of a statue is always the aggressor in any conflict. She complains that police “picked a side, and it wasn’t the side of the people who were against racism, against slavery, and wanted a fair and equal society.” Davis seems to presume that the anti-monument protesters were the ones who fit this description and criticizes the police for siding with the pro-monument protesters. But this characterization is false. Both sides in this conflict were equally against slavery. Judging by the fact that in her blog post Davis makes racist statements such as “there is a lot of actual history that white people were never taught,” she and her side are actually more racist than the pro-Confederate demonstrators. And the anti-Confederate demonstrators were actually advocating for the exact opposite of a fair and equal society. Advocating that a powerless, unpopular minority group be further marginalized and their history obliterated is as far from fair and equal as you can get. 

Finally, Davis describes a “hilarious” instance during the protest in which an anti-Confederate demonstrator taunted those who were defending the monument:

“The most hilarious thing is when she’s [sic] yells at the racists, ‘Yay! America!,’ then all the ‘counter protesters’ cheer, then she says something about how America kicked the Confederate’s ass. All of the white supremacists stop cheering and with a solemn face, just stare at her in silence. Crickets. How telling is that?”

In addition to the fact that Davis incorrectly uses the words “racists” and “white supremacists” and inappropriately puts the words “counter protesters” in quotes, I’m not exactly sure what her point is. The counter-protesters reacted negatively when the anti-Confederate demonstrator mentioned that the United States defeated the Confederacy. This reaction was entirely appropriate. The Union’s victory over the Confederacy was an instance of a powerful government trampling on the underdog. It was an instance of a people being denied their right to form an independent country and being forced to remain part of another country against their will. Why would anyone brag about this? Anyone who considers it a good thing that a powerful, oppressive government defeated a justified, courageous rebellion is a bully and an authoritarian. So yes, this incident is telling. Just not in the way Davis thinks it is. 

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.