Confederate monuments debate is easy

August 18, 2017

By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter

The debate over Confederate monuments doesn’t seem so hard.

On one side there are people saying, “Hey, that guy who you’ve memorialized in your town square, he enslaved my ancestors and led a traitorous revolt against America in a desperate attempt to continue to enslave my ancestors – maybe we should take that down.”

On the other side, people are saying, “Screw you.”

As you can see, it’s a complicated debate.

In reality, it is that simple.

Why wouldn’t Black Americans be offended by statues of men who fought for the Confederacy, who wrote about the inferiority of blacks, who signed declarations declaring that slavery is a way of life that should be fought for, who seemed after the Civil War to be perfectly willing to fight it all over again?

And on the other side of that argument is … nothing.

There’s no legitimate reason for keeping these things displayed in prominent locations. And please, spare me the “history” argument.

First of all, very few of these monuments and statues were erected in locations of historic significance or accuracy, and they weren’t done to commemorate any specific battle or notable event.

Instead, they were erected in town squares and on courthouse lawns, and they were placed there for the same reason so many racists still love them.

They’re giant middle fingers to blacks, Yankees and bleeding hearts who insist the South was wrong and who keep trying to drag white supremacists into the current century.

A CNN graphic Wednesday charted the year when every Confederate monument, statue or building was erected or renamed. You’ll be shocked to discover that the majority popped up in the times when blacks were pushing for more rights in this country – in the early 1900s and in the Civil Rights Era.

They’re not in place to remind us of our history. They’re in place to remind blacks who’s in charge.

I mean, really, history and learning? About half of Alabama’s monuments just commemorate the bravery and sacrifice of unnamed Confederate soldiers. Another large chunk simply say the name of the Confederate officer depicted by the statue.

Exactly what historical or educational value do those add?

(Test question: Describe Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

Answer: He was an odd pewter color and stood 12 feet tall.)

These things aren’t in place for history. They’re in place for spite.

And it’s such a dumb thing for us to be wasting time on in 2017. But we’re going to waste bunches more on it, apparently.

This week, Birmingham Mayor William Bell figured out a way to get around the absurdly stupid monuments law our State Legislature passed last session. It prevents these monuments from being altered or damaged.

But it doesn’t prevent them from being covered. And that’s exactly what Bell has done.

In a show of governmental expedience the likes of which is never seen in Alabama, it took Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall less than a day to file a lawsuit against Bell and city.

That’s right. It might take a lifetime for a complaint against a company to be investigated by the AG’s office, but let a tarp touch Jeff Davis’ head and see how quickly things move.

But we know how this will go.

There will be wasteful court fights, marches in the street and probably violence. Over statues and monuments commemorating men who chose to split the country apart rather than respect their fellow man.

Somehow, 150 years later, we still haven’t learned our lesson.

 

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