Roy Exum: A.P.’s Statue Is Staying

Thursday, September 28, 2017 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

The Hamilton County Commission was at its all-time best yesterday when a resolution was presented to remove a statue of a Confederate officer from the entrance of the courthouse in Chattanooga. There was thoughtful discussion, not from “both sides” but rather between kindred elected officials each eager to do the right thing as harmoniously as possible. There was great discussion Wednesday from every voice that was heard.

I am on record in the belief that tearing down a statue is to let emotion and prejudice cloud one’s decision and that the statue craze is a big part of what I see is tearing America up today. Statues of every type are our history and to muffle any part of what has happened since 1776 is shameful.

I can also go on record with the strong belief the monument to A.P. Stewart on the courthouse front law will remain in place – this crowd of nine commissioners is above knee-jerk stupidity and the ridiculous tweets that feed our nation’s savage fire every day. The only thing worst than removing that statue would be to bash the Bible and, in this town, that will never happen.

America is mad. Those on the left howl and have protests over everything. They quiver when they talk and their outbursts are comical. The right, just as quiet as when Obama was president eight years, watches and agrees with what Steven Miller just wrote on Fox: “My question to the Democrats (and media) is simple: What voters in that big chunk of the country turned red do you plan to win back on a platform of kneeling for the National Anthem, revoking due process, removing monuments of our founders, or backing Kim Jong Un in a nuclear showdown?”

“The more the left has ramped up its cultural war, the more their governing power has diminished. Who cares if the Affordable Care Act wiped them from the electoral map, as long as Jimmy Kimmel gets his sick burns in,” Miller added and he’s right. Democrats will get mauled at the polls next year. The liberals are in tatters without any rudder.

I like this take by the National Review writer, too. “Donald Trump’s election should have been a giant wake up call to both the media and the left that the causes they care about and blast out with their bylines are not the issues Americans care about. They may view Donald Trump’s twitter commentary as beneath the office of the presidency, but they can forgive a lot when the other party is demanding they bend the knee.” 

The NAACP is planning a march around the courthouse in protest of the Stewart statue this Sunday but they’d do better joining hands and singing “Kumbaya,” which began – seriously -- as “the sincere plea of a generation of African Americans for God’s intervention.” We need God’s mercy as a country a lot more that hand-wringing over statues in a community that has a great number of them.

Maine Governor Paul LePage, who doesn’t read newspapers because he believes the liberal reporters are “pencil terrorists,” had this to say about Confederate statues, “How can future generations learn if we're going to erase history? That's disgusting," he said. "They should study their history — they don't even know the history of this country and they are trying to take monuments down. Listen, whether we like it or not, this is what our history is." 

Then he took it up a notch: "To me, it's just like going to New York City right now and taking down the monument of those who perished in 9/11. It will come to that." 

When they just took down statues in Southern cities, a quick review reveals almost every city had a Democrat-heavy governing body. In Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke, a noted liberal, created an outrage when he wanted the city to disenfranchise itself with the “Confederate Cemetery” but Hamilton County government is solidly conservative with a make-up of seven whites and two blacks.

As eloquent and as solid as Greg Beck and Dr. Warren Mackey most certainly are, it’s the GOP that will keep General Stewart in place, not race (witness the recent swell to memorialize Ed Johnson, who was black, after he was wrongly hanged over 100 years ago.)

Commissioner Greg Martin said it best, “How can we look at the 19th century, and what those Americans believed, through a 21st century lens? I don’t believe that’s fair. And when you study, you realize its importance and meaning in the 21st century.”

Joe Graham, truthfully stating that some people deny the Holocaust despite the brilliant museum in Washington and visible prison camps in Germany, wants to know, “Where does this stop? To deny history, no matter how personally distasteful, does a disservice to our children. We need to teach them this was wrong.”

Then Beck revealed this view. “You can say what you want about a statue … but all I see is the Confederate uniform. That is unacceptable in the lawn of all places where we should all be equal … I personally do not like the statues of the two naked women on Market Street. You can talk about art all you want to, but all I see is two naked women,” he said, drawing laughter and smiles.

Each county commissioner has an opinion but, more, a belief. This is a fun conversation but you won’t get odds on the outcome in Las Vegas or Birchwood. It ain’t happening.

royexum@aol.com



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