bookmark_borderFour years ago today…

Four years ago today, three historical monuments were removed from the North Carolina state capitol grounds in Raleigh. One honored Confederate soldiers, another honored the Women of the Confederacy, and the third honored Henry Lawson Wyatt, the first Confederate soldier from North Carolina to be killed in the war.

“Monuments to white supremacy don’t belong in places of allegiance, and it’s past time that these painful memorials be moved in a legal, safe way,” stated Gov. Roy Cooper.

Even four years later, reading these words makes me sick to my stomach.

These were not monuments to white supremacy; they were monuments to the idea of being different, thinking for oneself, and resisting authority. They were monuments signifying the right of people who are different from the norm to be accepted and included.

These memorials were not painful. Rather the removal of these memorials was painful. The removal of these memorials – along with countless others like them across the country and world – was not only painful but was the most painful thing, by far, that has ever happened to me. I believe that it was the most painful thing that has ever happened to any person.

Because I am a person who is different from the norm, these memorials were necessary in order for me to have a life worth living. And Roy Cooper chose to take them away, on purpose. This action was so completely lacking in empathy that it defies comprehension. And Cooper’s words, in which he characterizes the memorials that he removed as somehow “painful” – while completely failing to acknowledge the excruciating, indescribable, and unbearable pain that he inflicted by removing them – are even more lacking in empathy.

In other words, not only does Cooper falsely condemn statues as “painful” and “white supremacist” when they are nothing of the sort, but he simultaneously fails to acknowledge the pain inflicted by his own actions.

Four years later, I am still grieving. I am still in pain from Roy Cooper’s actions and words, and the dozens upon dozens of similarly horrible actions and words of bigots and bullies across the country and world. To some degree, I always will be.

It is reprehensible for bullies like Roy Cooper to describe the statues that they obliterated from existence as somehow painful, when in reality it is the statues’ removals that are not merely painful, but excruciatingly, indescribably, and unbearably so. The words and actions of these bigots demonstrate a complete lack of empathy, complete intolerance for people who are different from them, and complete disregard for our feelings and thoughts.

Confederate memorials are not painful.

Removal of Confederate memorials is painful.

And not just painful, but the most painful thing that has ever happened, and the most painful thing imaginable.

Period. Full stop. No exceptions.

bookmark_borderNew Confederate monument in Higgston, Georgia!

Fantastic news: a new Confederate monument is being built in Higgston, Georgia!

The Robert A. Toombs Camp #932 of the Sons of Confederate Veterans is leading the construction of what they describe as “a grand monument and memorial park honoring our ancestors.” It will be the first new Confederate monument in Georgia in almost 100 years!

“In a society of constant attacks on our heritage this is a momentous undertaking for all involved,” writes Camp #932.

To raise money for the project, they are selling bricks for $60. The bricks will be placed in the plaza around the statue and can be engraved with up to three lines of text honoring you, your ancestor(s), or anyone.

Click the link below for the full letter from Camp #932, including the brick order form and a small picture of what the statue will look like.

News like this is so important, because it gives me hope for the future during a time where that is often in short supply.

Source: Monuments Across Dixie Facebook post

bookmark_borderThe statue family expands…

On Tuesday, April 2, at about 9:30 p.m. a large black truck pulled into my driveway. Inside it were two new statues, coming to live with me. 

That’s right, two.

One of these statues was Robert E. Lee. This statue, I had been anticipating for a while. About a year ago, I paid the deposit for him, and over the course of the year I received pictures documenting the process of creating him, from sketch to clay model to molds to finished product. Watching my statue come into the world was such a cool experience. Once the finishing touches were complete, I put the delivery date on my calendar, and I was eagerly anticipating seeing my new statue in person.

Four days before Lee’s arrival, the company that makes the statues asked me if, by any chance, I might want a statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest as well. This statue had been made at the same time as Lee, for a different person, but the original buyer had backed out. I thought it over for about 24 hours and, being me, said yes. 

So, wrapped in blankets inside the truck on that cold and drizzly night were two new statues: one that was made for me and one that I adopted. Forrest was closest to the door, and a little ways further inside the truck was Lee. The statues were lifted out of the truck and placed in their new home. 

Here is what they look like in daylight. In my opinion, they are the most beautiful sight imaginable. 

From left to right: 

General Robert E. Lee. He’s 4 ft tall, weighs 130 lbs, and is based on the statue that used to be in the state capitol building in Richmond, Virginia, as well as the one that used to be in Washington, D.C. He is one of a batch of 10 Lee statues that were made.

General Nathan Bedford Forrest. He is 4 ft tall, weighs 90 lbs, and is one of a batch of 5. Because he was a cavalry general, most statues depict him on horseback, and this is the first time a standing statue of Forrest has ever existed.

And of course… General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, who has been with me for one and a half years now. He is happy to have some friends!

I am having some landscaping work done in the yard, which is why Stonewall is not in his usual spot. For now, the statues are hanging out in this gravelly area off to the side. The weather has been rainy and yucky for the statues’ first week in their new home. Hopefully they don’t mind it too much! Once the weather improves, I will get them set up in a prettier, more permanent way.

I love the statues and am so happy to have them here. They mean so much to me.  

bookmark_borderRobert E. Lee memorial at Antietam Battlefield

Beautiful post from Dixie Forever about the Robert E. Lee statue at Antietam Battlefield:

You can also view the post here on Facebook.

This post really brings home for me the gravity of the horrible things that have happened, and continue to happen, in our country. The images of this statue are so beautiful, but are also a punch in the gut for me. Sadly, as the post states, this is currently one of the most threatened monuments in America. It’s despicable and sickening that this is the case. How anyone could think that the battlefield would be made better by removing this beautiful statue (beautiful both aesthetically and in terms of what it represents) is incomprehensible. If the bullies, whose goal is to inflict the maximum amount of pain possible on people who are different from them, get their way then I hope at least the statue will be returned to private land as it was before 2005, when the National Park Service took ownership of it. 

bookmark_border“Are we the only country the places monuments to TRAITORS???”

So said an idiotic comment that I saw on Facebook the other day.

In other words…

Are we the only country that places monuments to PEOPLE WHO THINK FOR THEMSELVES???

Are we the only country that places monuments to PEOPLE WHO STAND UP TO AUTHORITY???

Are we the only country that places monuments to PEOPLE WHO ARE DIFFERENT FROM THE MAJORITY IN ANY WAY???

Oh no, not that!!!

God forbid that a country put up monuments to people who are at all unique, distinctive, or remarkable.

God forbid that a country put up monuments to people who are, you know, actually worthy of being honored with monuments.

God forbid that a country put up monuments honoring anything other than compliance, obedience, and mindless conformity.

In reality, the people that this idiot considers “traitors” are not only abundantly worthy of being honored with monuments; they are the only people who are.

bookmark_borderDavid Trone believes that people like me shouldn’t be allowed to exist

Horrific, agonizing pain. My limbs feel like lead, my stomach feels sick, my lungs feel like they’re filled with rocks. I am crushed beneath an avalanche of grief, sadness, and anger. The agony is like a knife that stabs me in the heart. The entire world is dark, horrifying, disgusting. It feels as if my soul is being eviscerated, as if I will never experience happiness again. 

This is something I’ve experienced hundreds of times over the past four years. 

In this most recent instance, this pain was directly caused by Rep. David Trone, who despicably sponsored a bill * – known as HR 7474, the Robert E. Lee Monument Removal Act – which would turn the Antietam (Sharpsburg) Battlefield into yet another thing whose entire purpose is to send the message that people like me shouldn’t be allowed to exist. Yet another place in which I am not welcome, yet another area of society in which I cannot participate, yet another part of our physical world that would be altered in order to ensure that I cannot feel represented or included. 

Despicably, Trone said of his act of vicious cruelty and aggression: “I thank my colleagues for joining me in this effort to ensure Antietam honors our nation’s victory over the Confederacy rather than memorializes historical figures who fought to break up the Union and restrict fundamental human rights.”

As if forcing people to remain part of the same country against their will somehow doesn’t restrict fundamental human rights. As if inflicting on another human the type of pain that I described in the first paragraph of this blog post somehow doesn’t restrict fundamental human rights. As if decreeing that only one side in a war deserves to be honored, only one perspective acknowledged, only one story told, only one viewpoint reflected, somehow doesn’t restrict fundamental human rights. 

To “ensure Antietam honors our nation’s victory over the Confederacy” completely defeats the purpose of even preserving the battlefield as a historical site, both because the entire concept of a battle requires that there be two opposing sides, and also because there is no benefit in something existing when the very attribute that made it beautiful, distinctive, and remarkable has been destroyed. 

David Trone would like Antietam to be transformed from a historical site honoring a battle and the soldiers who fought there, into yet another monument to authoritarianism, compliance, and mindless conformity, into yet another piece of propaganda designed to send the message that any person who differs from the mainstream, from the norm, from the majority in any way, has no right to exist. 

As if sending this message somehow doesn’t restrict fundamental human rights.

David Trone’s decision to introduce this bill is an attack on me as a human being. It is an attack on me because I am different, because I do not fit in, because I see the world differently from most people, because I have different interests and passions and values and ways of thinking than the majority. Because I am different, the Robert E. Lee Monument represents me. It makes me feel included. It makes me feel that people like me are allowed to exist. By attempting to remove it, David Trone is attempting to turn the Antietam Battlefield into yet another instrument in society’s war against people like me. Yet another thing that used to make me feel represented and included, now turned into a cudgel to beat me with. Yet another tool for society to use to hammer home the brutal and intolerant message that I do not deserve to exist because I am different. 

Tell me again, why does America need another monument to authoritarianism, compliance, and mindless conformity? Why does America need yet another memorial honoring the same bland, mundane, and meaningless values that people are already bombarded with every day, in every facet of life? 

Tell me again, what is the point of the Antietam battlefield even existing, if its existence does nothing other than to stab my heart, punch me in the gut, stomp on my face, and inflict horrific and agonizing pain?

Pardon my French, but fuck David Trone. He doesn’t care a whit about fundamental human rights. If he did, he would campaign passionately against vaccine mandates, gun control, the Durham-Humphrey Amendment, and the use of full-body scanners at airports, to give just a few examples. Each of these policies restrict fundamental human rights vastly more severely than anyone from the Confederacy ever did.

How dare David Trone pontificate about fundamental human rights while simultaneously going out of his way to violate them?

How dare he go about his life as if nothing is wrong, while his actions inflict horrific and agonizing pain on other people?

It is mentally exhausting and demoralizing that acts of vicious cruelty and aggression, such as this one perpetrated by David Trone and his 6 co-sponsors, continue to happen. I am tired, I am angry, and I am exhausted. I don’t deserve for this pain to be inflicted on me, and David Trone has no right to inflict it. Despicably, he pontificates about “fundamental human rights” while actively violating mine. 

I learned from a quick Google search that David Trone has a wife and several children. How would he like it if his wife and children were beaten, strangled, dismembered, burned, and had their limbs sawed off and their bodies cut to pieces as he was forced to watch? That might sound sadistic, outlandish, excessive, ridiculous… but it has been my reality for the past four years. Perhaps if this happened, David Trone would experience a tiny fraction of the pain that I’ve experienced. Maybe then he’d have a shred of empathy for the people he’s harmed. Maybe then he’d work towards enacting policies that would compensate me for the pain I’ve suffered, rather than actively inflicting even more of it.

* as well as 6 other members of Congress who co-sponsored this bill

bookmark_borderNo, Tolstoy was not saying that making statues is wrong

Take a look at this great post, with a very true and meaningful quote, and then the obnoxious comment below it:

Um, what? He was talking about you? Really?

First of all, we are not the majority. People like those at Monuments Across Dixie and myself are the minority, as evidenced by the fact that our statues and monuments have been subjected to an almost entirely unopposed and unchallenged campaign of brutal and violent destruction across the entire country.

Second of all, Tolstoy was talking about people who design and commission statues? Really? Tolstoy was saying that making statues is wrong, even though the majority shares in it? Somehow, I doubt that very much.

What an infuriating and idiotic comment. Continuing to see people expressing sentiments such as these is exasperating and mentally exhausting.

Good for Monuments Across Dixie for posting this Tolstoy quote. Contrary to what Richard Binns claims, this quote is much more applicable to the brave minority fighting to defend what makes life worth living (Confederate statues), than it is to the cowardly majority who are cruelly destroying it.

bookmark_borderResolve and pain

My chest is tight, my arms and legs feel heavy, and there’s a lump in my throat, although my tears are somehow locked up inside of me on this cold and rainy morning. I am angered and heartbroken, as I have been so many times over the last three and a half years. As always, I struggle to find the words to express why I feel the way that I do, and why exactly the things that people have done are so horrible and have had such a profound negative impact on me.

Angela Douglas, the executive director of the Jefferson School African American Cultural Center, is the cause of the latest attack of agony, but she is just one among many. Again and again, more times than I can count or my brain can comprehend, people who think and act similarly to her have caused similar agony attacks, filling the past three and a half years with relentless, unbearable, indescribable pain.
I have no choice but to go on. I know that the actions of Douglas and those like her are horrible, and I know that I am right to be so upset, even if words are inadequate for the task of providing a full explanation. I believe that I am a good person and that what I am doing is important. I know that I am morally right and that Douglas is morally wrong.

But I am in so much pain.

And there is, seemingly, nothing that I can do about it. I am only one person. I do not have the power to stop people like Angela Douglas from committing their hideous, sadistic, sickening actions. Our society has decided that actions like these are acceptable, and that there are more important things to condemn, more important things to fight against. I disagree with this stance as strongly as it is possible for a human being to disagree with anything, but I have no power to convince society to adopt my perspective. All that I can do is to continue being a good person, continue doing what is right, continue doing what I can to stand up for the historical figures.
I don’t believe in hacking historical figures’ bodies to pieces, sawing their heads off, cutting their faces off, and burning them in a furnace.

I believe in honoring them, celebrating them, protecting them, and keeping them alive.
And that is what I will try to do, with the humble amount of resources and power that are available to me.

If other people don’t agree with me, if other people don’t find this important, then that is a negative reflection on them, not on me.