I’m going to wade into something here that may be inflammatory (as if that’s ever stopped me).
To begin with, the alt-reich right and the white nationalists that fall into that category have no place in our nation. Americans fought and died to keep America free from the ideology you’re trying to take mainstream in this nation. What went on in Charlottesville was atrocious and wrong.
If you’re throwing Nazi salutes on American soil, you are not an American, and just as some lawmakers have proposed revoking the citizenship of those who venture out to join ISIS, let’s go ahead and apply that to those promoting the tenets of the Hitler regime in our nation, as well.
And speaking of ISIS, part of the horror that is the Islamic State modus operandi has been to destroy historic sites and monuments in areas they invade. Throughout Iraq and Syria, ISIS has done to priceless monuments of heritage what the ravages of time could not do.
With that in mind, how are people who destroy monuments on American soil very different than ISIS?
I went there.
On Monday, protesters in Durham, North Carolina, anxious to insert themselves into what went on in Charlottesville, Virginia over the weekend, gathered in front of the old courthouse building, chanting, cursing, and just being vile, then proceeded to pull down a Confederate monument that has stood there for 100 years.
It wasn’t of any particular Confederate officer. It was just a citizen soldier, with the look of a farmer, holding a rifle – pretty much the bulk of those who made up the Confederate army. The base of the monument read: In memory of the boys who wore the gray.
Chanting such lovely phrases as, “F**k Trump” and “You can’t stop the revolution,” men used ladders to climb the monument, hooked straps to it, and pulled it down, among cheers and howls.
Some of those present were members of Workers World Party – a Socialist organization that aligns itself with Venezuela’s oppressive Maduro regime.
So odd that they would stand on American soil, chant about oppression, while aligned with an ideology that has resulted in the death of so many, and even now is oppressing people to the point of starvation in other parts of the world.
If that is the ideology they champion, they have much bigger issues than that nameless farmer who has stood in that town square so silently and unobtrusively for so long.
There was no order in place and no controversy about that particular statue. These were the professional provocateurs who want to see the entirety of the American way of life turned upside down.
I would venture a guess (and I’m quite confident of it) that the vast majority of those who want to scrub part of our national heritage from the landscape, by doing away with Confederate monuments couldn’t care less about the idea that the Civil War was a war over slavery.
The majority of them would fail even the most elementary level history exam, regarding the Civil War.
Toppling that monument in Durham on Monday wasn’t about racism or oppression. It was about toppling our government and installing something else.
I don’t even want to guess why arrests weren’t made yesterday or why authorities didn’t intervene. Perhaps they thought it best to avoid wading in and creating a riotous situation like Charlottesville. That is, after all, the kind of chaos that crowd was hoping for.
Today, however, the Durham County sheriff is saying that they will use video of the event to bring charges against those who vandalized and removed public property.
Good, and I hope there are citizens who see the video and are eager to help.
The full statement of Durham County Sheriff Mike Andrews reads:
“I am grateful the events that unfolded Monday evening did not result in serious injury or the loss of life, but the planned demonstration should serve as a sobering example of the price we all pay when civil disobedience is no longer civil. Before the protest, my staff met with our community partners to discuss how to safely and appropriately respond to the protest.
County leaders were aware of the risk of damage to the Confederate statute, as well as, the potential risk of injury to the public and officers should deputies attempt to control the crowd. Collectively, we decided that restraint and public safety would be our priority. As the Sheriff, I am not blind to the offensive conduct of some demonstrators nor will I ignore their criminal conduct. With the help of video captured at the scene, my investigators are working to identify those responsible for the removal and vandalism of the statue.
My deputies showed great restraint and respect for the constitutional rights of the group expressing their anger and disgust for recent events in our country. Racism and incivility have no place in our country or Durham. I am asking both city and county leaders to establish guidelines and safe spaces for protesters to prevent demonstrations from becoming disruptive and as we witnessed in Charlottesville, dangerous.
Rightfully, Durham County and the City of Durham have a longstanding respect for the right of peaceable assembly. Recently, the Sheriff’s Office’s decision to arrest demonstrators at a public meeting was challenged in the court of law. My Agency has been the focus of demonstrations for more than a year, most of them peaceful. However, now may be the time for Durham to consider what is the best way to respond to continued protests while respecting every resident’s right to voice their opinion.“
I am the great-granddaughter of Confederate soldiers – not officers, but farmers who joined the North Carolina infantry, just like the soldier represented in that monument.
They did not own slaves. Most of those who fought in the war on the Confederate side did not.
My maternal great-grandfather, John B. Simmons, was only 14 years old when he joined, as a matter of fact. When the war was over, he came home to North Carolina and married a young Native American girl, named Suzannah.
So what is the solution? We are at a crossroads in our nation’s history, and it’s not as if we haven’t faced these internal struggles before.
I’ve long advocated that our problems are not political, but cultural. What we see now is an issue of a nation that has forgot the faith of the Founding Fathers, and the purpose of colonizing a new world, with a new hope.
A heart sickness has taken hold, an inevitable end when the flesh of man drives the debate. We are not, however, without recourse.
First, we pray. Seeking guidance on how to successfully traverse this current political landscape should be the go-to reaction in any nation’s time of crisis.
Then, let the people vote. Let the communities that are home to these monuments have a say in whether they stay or go, and then act accordingly.
What we don’t do is allow subversive groups to disrespect the opinions of the citizens, who all have a right to decide how best to preserve the parts of our nation’s heritage that remain, even if it’s heritage that some find distasteful, for whatever reasons.
And should some try to foment chaos – treat them as the enemies of a free society that they are.