Too Much

Too Much

One of the biggest distractions each week is writing this Distraction. I don’t mean the composing of the words, but the timing of the articles. I am working on this on Tuesday afternoon, however, it will not appear on the website or in the eCaller or in the hardcopy of the Caller until the following Tuesday morning. So I am always trying to write about something for the next week, which is to say, I am frustrated that events occur and I am a week late in addressing them. Take this week.

Over the weekend (August 11-13), events in Charlottesville, Virginia made the national news. The moving of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee from the Emancipation Park to another location prompted some groups to come to Charlottesville to protest the decision of the city council. It shouldn’t be overlooked that this statue of a Confederate General was located in a park named for an Act passed by the Congress to end the ownership of people by other people. Charlottesville made the decision to move the statue to a more appropriate venue months earlier and after careful consideration. It appears to me that this was a reasonable decision by the city council. A statue commemorating the primary leader of the Confederate armies during a war to preserve the slavery of African individuals who had been abducted from their ancestral homes and shipped to the Americas like cattle probably doesn’t belong in Emancipation Park. That would akin to erecting a statue of an SS officer of the Nazi Party at the site of the ovens in Auschwitz.

And that is who showed up to protest the city’s decision: members of the Neo-Nazi Party (neo=new; Nazi=Nazi); members of the Ku Klux Klan; white supremacists. That violence ensued is neither surprising nor unpredictable. It is sad, disgusting, and unsettling that these people came from across the country to a city where they don’t live, at a park they will likely never visit again, to protest something that really isn’t any of their business and to intimidate the people who do live there. As if that were not enough, one of these people deliberately drove his automobile into a crowd of Charlottesville citizens and University of Virginia students who came in counter-protest. The people he left in his wake did not deserve to be killed or injured.

The City Council of Charlottesville deserves our support as does the Mayor of Lexington, Kentucky who is facing a similar protest, but is standing fast with the decision to relocate statues there. While I recognize the historic value of these statues, it is time they were placed in appropriate venues and not used as symbols to rally racists, Neo-Nazis, white nationalists/supremacists and others who would tear apart the rich fabric of American diversity and culture. The War Between the States is long over, World War II is long over, slavery and Jim Crow are long gone, so let us leave the racism, the anti-Semitism and the false glory of those days in the past as well. Too much blood and life has been lost already.

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