By: Pat Austin
SHREVEPORT – If you have not yet done so, please read DaTechGuy’s post on the Saturday protests in Boston.
I’m a college educated, professional woman and I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around all of this. The irony is too great.
I’m trying to allow for the fact that I may have bias (my ancestors fought for the Confederacy), and certainly I don’t expect everyone to agree with my point of view. Over a decade in blogging will teach you that right quick. I support and even applaud your right to have a differing opinion and certainly support the right for everyone to be able to peacefully protest and express their opinion.
For me, from my perspective, I can’t help but tie these protests to New Orleans and the fact that Mitch Landrieu opened the door by moving the monuments there.
The group had gathered to protest plans to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, and others arrived to protest the racism.
And we know what happened: the protest turned violent and a man ran into the crowd with his car, killing one woman and injuring others.
This could have easily happened in New Orleans as well; protests there during the removal of the Jefferson Davis monument were terribly intense and many protesters on both sides had visible weapons. What happened in Charlotte could happen anywhere.
What’s this all about, though?
Is it about statues?
Is it about Trump? What does Trump have to do with monuments that have stood for over a hundred years?
Why do we all hate each other all of a sudden? Can’t we differ without hating each other?
I’m not a tree-hugging liberal singing Kumbaya by any means. I’m a Reagan conservative and I support leaving these monuments where they stand because they are part of our history. You can’t change history.
Here in Shreveport, Louisiana, our city has been embroiled in the Confederate monument controversy as well, although thankfully without these ugly protests. A committee of local historians and officials was formed and they voted to keep the Confederate monument in its place on the courthouse grounds; they’ve also voted to erect flaking monuments to Civil Rights and Reconstruction and to erect signage with a lengthy denouncement of the monument, including this language:
“This monument, erected in 1905 is in memory of those who defended the cause of 1861 to 1865 and the cause itself. That cause was the attempt, beginning in December 1860, in South Carolina, by Louisiana and twelve other states unilaterally to withdraw from the United States of America and establish the Confederate States of America in order to preserve the institution of slavery of Africans and their descendants. …
…It was erected after the Civil War ended, after slavery and involuntary servitude had been ended by the 13th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America (“except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted”), after the abridgment of the right to vote “on account of race, color or previous condition of servitude” had been prohibited by the 15th Amendment, and after the attempt at establishing state and local governments inclusive of former slaves and their descendants known as Reconstruction had failed due to their being disenfranchised by poll taxes and literacy tests, and by terror and threats of terror, including lynching, by whites. Thus, although they constituted 47 percent of Louisiana’s population in 1900, former slaves and their descendants had no say in whether or not or where the monument would be erected.”
There are some factual errors in that language and clearly some editorializing and bias, but the opposing side has the right (should the Caddo Commission approve this) to pay $10 a letter to put up this sign.
But why all this sudden fuss about monuments and statues? Where does it end?
And why are we all of a sudden all fascists, Nazis, and white supremacists if we voted for Trump or if we support monuments? THAT offends ME.
I was completely beside myself over this first of all Donald Trump won the majority of voters in 29 states. If a man can’t safely walk through Boston Common with that banner [“Make America Great Again”] no matter who is there that’s an incredible escalation as it is the dubbing of any person supporting Trump a fascist or a Nazi.
That’s just sad and frankly, wrong.
These protests happened all over the country during the weekend. One in Dallas, “against white supremacy,” required police to chase protestors out of a Civil War cemetery which holds a Confederate monument:
Dallas police are using horses to try to break up a scuffle at a cemetery between people rallying against white supremacy and supporters of Confederate monuments.
Officers riding on horseback had waited as the confrontation became more intense, but they moved in to break it up around 9 p.m. It happened at Pioneer Park, a Civil War cemetery that houses the memorial to Confederate soldiers.
But wait – I thought the protesters wanted monuments out of courthouse squares and into museums or cemeteries!
The rules have changed? Just that fast?
Where will it end?
Are we heading to another civil war?
It’s all too crazy for me. As long as it was peaceful protests and working things out through legal channels, we can have that discussion. But when ANTIFA starts roping monuments, toppling them, burning them, without judgment or prosecution, things have gone off the rails. Everyone does not get a trophy, you do not always get your way, and sometimes compromise is necessary.
We need a return to common sense and civility or our nation is finished. We have to work out our differences peacefully. There is no other way.
Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.