I have been watching the news with a great deal of skepticism is recent years. Recently we have seen reports of statues being removed, protests to leave them alone, and all manner of garbage. Some of this is revisionist history, some of it is concern over appearances, and still more is just trying to cause trouble where there really isn’t any.
Recently in Dallas Texas there was a statue of Robert E Lee removed. The controversy was simple, the man fought in the Civil War on the behalf of the south. Well…He was in Texas, so yeah, he did. But, and this is a giant but, after the war he also fought (politically) to rebuild the nation.
Did he fight for the Confederacy? Yes.
Did he fight to help a nation heal after a brutal War? Yes.
Along Oak Lawn Avenue in Dallas there was a massive statue in his honor (half paid for by the Lee family) that had been there for the better part of a century. In the past few months there have been calls to take it down, a court battle, and ultimately the removal of this racist statue of a guy on a horse.
I asked around town all afternoon what the statue that was removed was. Most people said something along the lines of “Oh that dude on a horse, I heard on the news it was some confederate guy, but I never knew before that.”
Ok, slavery was horrible, no one denies that. It needs to never ever happen again ever. However, removing a statue doesn’t cause that to happen.
So, let’s look at the area of the statue after removal.
Not a bad looking park, it was better with the statue. I should add I live a 15-minute walk from that park and never realized who was on the horse. I walk past it four or five times a week and still nothing. But here it is, the statue is gone hooray our lives are all better now. Except for one thing. Back in those trees, unseen from this angle is a replica of Robert E Lee’s house that is still there…. oops.
Now, back to the massive protest. By some news stories in the local news I have seen that “100 people or more turned out for the protest, with one arrest.”
Ok, I’ll believe that…I was there, but it isn’t what you think.
Let’s look at the visitors.
Here is the protest as they were about to take the microphone. Massive, isn’t it? Was there an arrest? Yes. One person shoved another, then a cop and off to jail. Interesting thing was I overheard the protestors planning who would be arrested before they got started. Well isn’t that interesting.
Let’s go back to who was there (with the help of a telephoto lens).
News Camera 1, with still photographer and two bored security guards in the back (there is 4 who turned out).
A family of four who happened to be walking through the park anyway and were clearly caught up in the hoopla (along with another photographer in the background).
Finally some press coverage. Another crew (or two) complete with on camera guy getting set! News media now out numbers protestors who by my count by the end made it all the way to something like 9. Yes….9.
But we haven’t made it to our 100 yet.
So where are the rest?
Group of people who live in the area who heard the helicopters to cover the “event.” How do I know they are from the area? I see half of them in Starbucks all the time. So yes, they are locals with their cameras. One woman who made a sign which told the confederate guys to put their flags away. I have spoken to her in the past she is a really sweet lady and makes some wicked awesome iced tea. Such a rabble rouser.
Two news helicopters arrived, I only managed a picture of one, (remember back at that first photo of our massive protest about to happen, any second now).
Looking up the street I saw a half dozen police cars. We might be up to 25 or so who “turned out” now.
2 Actual protestors with some locals. The guy in the wheel chair and the guy in the hat. The rest are just local guys who were out and about that day, except the guy in the orange vest who was directing people away from the “protest area.”
The protest at any second now!
The anti-protest protest has arrived!
There we go…A protestor (posting on social media).
At long last a few more people in fatigues all carrying guns (this is Texas) showed up and one gave a speech. All in all, it was a really boring afternoon. Were “one hundred people on hand” for this thing? Sure. If you count all the locals who walked past, all the media and the police.
Now, the statue is gone, the world is safe from anything that might remind us of Robert E Lee, except that pesky replica of his house which no one protested, and no one wants removed. That house is a 2/3 scale exact copy of Robert E Lee’s final home. They do weddings there now. It also has some artifacts that were owned by him inside. It is amazing how this whole controversy has been ginned up by the media as a “frenzy.”
Having been in and out of Dallas for a few decades I saw a larger crowd at the Spring Sale over at Bass Pro Shop than I saw at this massive protest.