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It’s Not A Monumental Decision

Written by on June 9, 2020 | Opinion

Removing Confederate memorials never has been, nor should it ever be, a monumental decision, it’s a no-brainer. They don’t exist to educate people about history, they are still present in town squares throughout the South primarily to intimidate black people. They were installed by white folks as a warning to black folks “to remember their place”. The only thing monumental in the discussion about monuments is the monumental lengths that Republicans and conservatives will go in making absurd justifications for their continued existence.

As America continues to protest the police brutality and systemic racism that resulted in the murder of George Floyd, it’s jaw-dropping that Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall decided to sue the City of Birmingham for removing a Confederate monument. Of course, he doesn’t want you to think he’s taking a racist action, he’s just following the law that Gov. Kay Ivey supported and signed in 2017. Ivey also pretended it wasn’t about preserving monuments to racist traitors, it was for, you know, public education purposes. It’s sort of like how some people say the Civil War wasn’t about slavery, it was just a big ol’ misunderstanding about states’ rights.

Um, yeah, to own black slaves.

In Huntsville, AL, Madison County Commission Chairman Dale Strong has recently stated that “I think through that dialogue, we will lead to a decision for what’s best for Madison County. I’m not pointing this back to legal — what the state law says. I want to do what’s best for the people of Madison County. This week, we’ll continue, and I think at a point, a decision will be made based on what is best for the people of Madison County.”

That sounds kinda sorta okay, but is there really anything to discuss at this point? Are you trying to say it’s somehow possible that removing the monument would be detrimental to the people of Madison County, but if the conversation goes a different way, you’ll violate state law to remove them? Interesting. Are we missing some earth-shattering new information or key points we didn’t know about from the “Keep the Traitor/Racist Monument” crowd that would make everyone say “Yeah, let’s keep them”?

Sorry, but there’s really nothing to discuss except expediting their removal and overturning the recently passed law that was designed to keep old monuments, particularly to the Confederacy, in place. It’s long past time for them to be removed and destroyed. If progressive cities, like Huntsville, want to practice what they preach, then they should just pay the fine and tear them down.

Of course, we’ve heard a lot of double-talking lately. Speaking of Huntsville, Mayor Tommy Battle wants us all to believe that the reason the city tear-gassed and shot rubber bullets at peaceful protestors was that they were afraid that Huntsville had been infiltrated by “anarchists” and “outsiders” looking to potentially riot and cause trouble. Yeah, that’s a great justification for the video of the one officer strolling around and pepper-spraying people who were clearly non-violent… they must’ve been outsider anarchists in disguise just waiting for their opportunity to unleash anarchistic chaos.

Sorry, that’s all BS, and Battle knows it. There was no curfew. People weren’t blocking roads or open businesses. There was no looting or wanton destruction of property. It was all about an authoritarian show of overwhelming force to “keep people in their place”, intentionally disregarding their First Amendment rights. It was all about intimidation and showing dominance in the face of a message that made the power structure feel uncomfortable and afraid. Are they seriously making the case that there was no better way to handle the situation?

In the age of the cell phone video, it’s becoming easier to publicize bad behavior and call out politicians when they lie to cover their asses by mischaracterizing “situations” like the one in Huntsville.

It’s time for action. Time to reform policing and the criminal justice system- those things will take discussion and some strategic thinking. It’s also time to tear down racist monuments. No townhalls, talks, or strategy is necessary. Just pick up the phone and call waste removal- DONE.

Monumental racism is the only reason monuments to racism exist. Tear them down now. There’s really nothing further to discuss.

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