Roy Exum: A Face In The Crowd

  • Sunday, August 26, 2018
  • Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

At least 11 people were arrested or are being sought in Chapel Hill, N.C, on Saturday as a pro-Confederate rally turned sour. And while there were warrants out for even others following Monday’s toppling of a Civil War monument on the University of North Carolina campus, the new thought is that something far more sinister is stirring. We do not know the identities of those arrested, but University Chancellor Carol Folt told us what we already expected – not one in question had any ties to UNC.

Since the Monday night protests, when a statue called “Silent Sam” was desecrated by what first appeared to be a teen-aged back-to-school bash, law enforcement authorities from across the state are telling insiders Monday’s protests didn’t fit the modus operandi … no, this was nothing they had ever seen. Please, UNC, is a liberal-leaning island of ‘free thought’ where somebody is protesting something else all the time, but this was different.

Said one, “This was a carefully-planned and well-staged protest. This doesn’t pass the smell test.”

I should say. While no details are available about those who have been arrested, or are being sought, it is confirmed by various law enforcement groups – including federal agencies -- that the national notoriety might be more of a terrorist attack on the American good. The university begged students not to attend Saturday’s counter-protest so there was hardly the crowd there was on Monday. But, boy oh boy, was there evermore a headliner to give a rousing speech.

How in the heck did Chelsea Manning happen to appear out of thin air; freely admitting she had been paid to deliver a speech? You’ll remember a U.S. Army soldier who was born as Bradley Manning and sold thousands of secrets to our nation’s enemies. In July of 2013, he was convicted by court-martial of violations of the Espionage Act and other offenses, after disclosing to WikiLeaks nearly 750,000 classified, or unclassified but sensitive, military and diplomatic documents.

On the first day after the 35-year sentence, Manning announced she was actually a trans-woman. She had always thought of herself as Chelsea. And – not just that – would begin hormone therapy immediately. Manning was sentenced to 35 years at the military wing in Fort Leavenworth but in May 2017, President Obama granted a full pardon. Chelsea has since devoted herself to various activist causes and has been drawn to the removal of Civil War monuments. After the sensational brawl in Charlottesville (Aug. 17, 2017) Chelsea has been totally involved in blotting away what she says are signs of white supremacy. (Since Charlottesville, it is estimated that 30 Civil War monuments have been removed in the United States.)

No, I know nothing about who finances such changes but every bit as intriguing is who financed Chelsea’s visit to Chapel Hill – the plane, the car, the security and – of course – the passionate speech she delivered.

UNC Board of Governors member Thom Goolsby said in a YouTube video that the well-known “Silent Sam” monument will be placed back on campus within 90 days because it is clearly the law. “A statue was torn down by a violent mob and the police stood by and did nothing as that happened,” Goolsby said of the Aug. 20 incident.

Goolsby is satisfied that the university’s board is investigating and working with school officials to ensure that the “perpetrators are punished, that judgement is sought for their felonious criminal acts.”

Chancellor Folt, stuck in the midst of this firestorm, believes justice must reign. “No matter what you felt about the monument, what happened on Monday night was destruction of state property, and that is not lawful, and someone could have been badly injured. Using the full breadth of state and university processes, we will do our best to identify, and will hold those responsible accountable.”

Manning was unfazed: “I don’t care what the law says … that statue isn’t going up again,” she told reporters Saturday. “Obviously we got to close prisons, we got to deal with ICE, we got to deal with statues like this, we got to deal with white supremacy and all these systemic problems that the criminal justice system, that the immigration system, that the military industrial complex all contribute to,” Manning said.

She even used a monster of comparison: “Having U.S. forces in a country like Iraq killing brown people is effectively a systemic form of white supremacy.”

Raul Jimenez, who was arrested and acquitted in the 2017 episode in Charlottesville, was present in Chapel Hill yesterday as well. He said his only role was to “encourage and support the Chapel Hill protesters." In August 2017, protesters toppled a Confederate statue in Durham. One of the arrested and acquitted for tearing down the monument, Raul Jimenez, was in attendance at Saturday’s protest in Chapel Hill. He said he came to support everyone who has protested in Chapel Hill.

And that’s okay, but where the rub comes is just who exactly sent the people to establish a war zone. Who’s idea? What is the intent? These are the big questions on our college campuses across the country. Capture our young and you capture our future.

royexum@aol.com

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