Dispatches from the (Second) Civil War

by Fred Ray on August 23, 2017 · 2 comments

Which, let us pray, never actually comes to the shooting stage. Nevertheless the madness continues unabated, with statues and images that everyone has ignored for years suddenly becoming threatening. It’s beginning to look like some Banana Republic where people are disappeared in the middle of the night.

Speaking of which, the University of Texas disappeared its Confederate statues in the dead of night, and in Houston a man was arrested for trying to plant explosives on a Confederate statue. In New York a landlord is attempting to evict a tenant for flying a Confederate flag (it has since been dropped), and in Ohio Gov. Kaisch (the very model of the squishy Republican who refuses to stand up for anything), has had an offending painting of Gen. John Hunt Morgan removed. And when you think it can’t get any more ridiculous, it does: some at USC are upset because their horse mascot is named Traveler, which sorta sounds like Robert E. Lee’s horse Traveller. Then too, ESPN actually switched an announcer from covering the Virginia game because his name was Robert Lee.

One student was arrested during a raucous demonstration demanding the removal of Silent Sam at UNC. The monument is one of a common soldier to built to commemorate students from the school who were killed during the war. In case you’re wondering, the nickname comes from the story that Sam’s gun fires every time a virgin walks by. It hasn’t fired yet.

The UDC has requested a Confederate monument in Kansas City be removed to prevent further vandalism. Roger Taney joined the ranks of the disappeared at the Annapolis statehouse at 2am. In beleaguered Charlottesville the city council, besieged by demonstrators, voted to shroud General Lee in black so no one’s eyes would be offended. The demonstrators were upset that anyone had been allowed to speak there at all. Yale, having banished the name of John C. Calhoun, will remove a “problematic” carving of a Puritan pointing a musket at an Indian.

In Detroit, a mob went looking for Confederate statues and couldn’t find any, so they settled for Christopher Columbus. Baltimore, having removed its Confederate monuments, did the same. All white guys look alike, I suppose. Think the rest are safe? Not so, Abe Lincoln’s statue was vandalized (twice) in Chicago. Having run out of Confederate statues in New Orleans, the mob turned on Joan of Arc instead. Ghana will remove a statue of Mahatma Gandhi because he said some naughty things about Africans. Some Brits would like to topple the statue of Lord Nelson, Britain’s greatest naval hero, because he does not meet modern political standards.

As part of the statue removal at the University of Texas Greg Fenves had this to say: “Last week, the horrific displays of hatred at the University of Virginia and in Charlottesville shocked and saddened the nation. These events make it clear, now more than ever, that Confederate monuments have become symbols of modern white supremacy and neo-Nazism.” Never mind that the demonstrators at Charlottesville numbered about 450 people, and only a small part of them sported Nazi or Klan regalia. Apparently everyone who opposes historical vandalism is a Nazi now.

Here in Asheville I am happy to say that the city has stationed some police officers to protect the Vance monument from further vandalism, which does not sit well with the local activists.

UPDATE: Another day, more calls to remove offensive things. New York certainly has a problem here with no Confederate statues to go after, but the denizens of the Big Apple are nothing if not creative. A Jewish group wants to go after one of the city’s founders, Peter Stuyvesant, and of course there is always Columbus. The New York Post has a handy guide for other candidates as well.

In Alabama, students are protesting an LGBT banner, likening it to the dreaded Rebel flag.

ESPN fans are still wondering why the network removed a sportscaster named Robert Lee (who is Asian) from the Virginia game.

The man’s name is his name. Adults can distinguish the difference between a sportscaster named `Robert Lee’ and a statue of a long-dead Confederate general,” penned Jay Busbee of Yahoo Sports. “Hell, I live in Atlanta, and we don’t run anyone named `Sherman’ out of town with torches.


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Aidan Shannon August 24, 2017 at 8:47 am

The madness has crossed to the west coast of Ireland.Galway County Council are talking of removing a tribute to Major “Dick Dowling” of Sabine Pass fame.Where does it end


Josh Liller August 24, 2017 at 10:42 pm

“with statues and images that everyone has ignored for years suddenly becoming threatening”

Offensive or inappropriate is not the same as threatening.

The backlash against Christopher Columbus has been building for years. I’m not sure when I first hear of people opposed to Columbus Day being a holiday, but I think it was at least a decade ago.

Sounds like the Morgan painting was displayed in a reasonably appropriate context. Removing it temporarily until things settle down might be good for the safety of the painting against any possible vandalism. Hopefully it will be put back up in a few months.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: