Roy Exum: Stewart Statue Will Stay

Tuesday, October 20, 2020 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

There is no doubt the Hamilton County Commissioners will respond negatively tomorrow when a petition that calls for the removal of a Civil War statue from the courthouse grounds is brought before the group. The nine-person board will likely defeat the petition by a very predictable 6-3 margin and, for what it’s worth, the Tennessee Historical Commission will almost certainly balk if the county commissioners were to send the request to Nashville under state law.

This is not about a statue; it is about race. As Andy Walker wrote on the Chattanoogan.com forum several days ago, the statue of A.P. Stewart is not divisive, but the attempt by writer Betsy Darken, aided by Commissioner Warren Mackey, most certainly is.

In simple-speak, the citizens of Hamilton County as well as across the United States have had quite enough of the liberal left’s tattered “race card” and to rip the scabs of old wounds accomplishes nothing more than prolonged pain. C’mon, man, this is ridiculous.

Lecia Brooks is the Chief of Staff at the Southern Poverty Law Center and told Nashville’s Fox-17 reporters it's very difficult to move Confederate monuments in Tennessee, due to amendments (made in 2016 and 2018) to the 2013 Tennessee Heritage Protection Act. "It seems that your Heritage Protection Act is amended to prevent any further workarounds," Brooks said.

The State’s Historical Commission staff has said that neither they, nor the Governor can change the timeline for the potential Nathan Bedford Forrest bust removal in our state capitol. They say it would require legislative action. The exact same footing supports any emotionally driven effort against A.P. Stewart in Hamilton County. Brooks says there are 105 Confederate symbols that still stand in Tennessee. Forty two are Confederate monuments, and 26 are near courthouses, courthouse grounds, or on government property.

Since a despicable thug named George Floyd died while suffering a drug overdose while in a tragic confrontation with police, vandals, under the guise of a now-shady Black Lives Matter organization, have torn down, defaced, and destroyed more than 185 historical statues in America. Please, Floyd’s lungs weighed 2 ½ more than normal because fentanyl had caused them to fill with so much fluid it was impossible for him to breathe. This whole uprising, costing all of us over $2 billion (with a ‘b’) is a total sham.

Believe it or not, the Civil War statues are the most prominent that are in the news, since “slavery” fits the rioters’ quests for glory, but any likeness of Christopher Columbus is far-and-away the most popular among the criminal loot-and-burn crowd.

Columbus’ statues have suffered 33 successful attacks compared to just nine for Robert E. Lee. There have been nine “beheadings” to date, of the Founding Fathers. The lawless hate Saint Junipero Serra, too, as eight of his statues have hit the dust. (Canonized by the Roman Catholic Church for his work with the American Indians, his advocates claim Serra was a renowned figure in his lifetime. However, his treatment of the American Indians is debated. Father Serra’s advocates claim that “he was a strenuous defender of the Indians and introduced to their lands the cattle, sheep, grains, and fruits of Mexico. His detractors charge that he was complicit in the colonization of the American continent and the enslavement of indigenous peoples.”)

Of the 183 monuments that have been damaged and defaced, no arrests have been made in 177 cases. Curiously, most of the statues were removed by pressure from activists … after they were damaged, spray-painted with “BLM” or vulgarities, the harried politicians then removed the statues in an attempt towards “public safety” and, in almost every instance, they have never reappeared.

In Chattanooga vandals attacked the Statue of the Virgin Mary at a Catholic church on July 13 and it was beheaded. There have been a surprising number of attacks on religious symbols across the United States. A number of memorials to fallen law enforcement have been whacked, and a memorial to Francis Scott Key, who wrote the Star-Spangled Banner, was destroyed in California after it was painted “Kill Whitey!” One guy pulled down a statue of The Ten Commandments and was driving back and forth through downtown streets before being stopped and arrested on a DUI.

Kit Carson, the famed frontiersman, was scrapped in Santa Fe, and the list of “why” has no answers.

I contend the Hamilton County Commission should, once and for all, wash its hands of these repeated attempts that are obviously an opportunity to disrupt the community and instead focus on the black-on-black shootings that are a far greater plague on our well-being. The statue of A.P. Stewart has stood uninterrupted on the courthouse lawn for over 100 years but the victims of shootings in Hamilton County, Tennessee, total over 125 in just this year alone. Multiply that by their loved ones.

Hamilton County is the sole owner of the beleaguered Erlanger Hospital. I believe my friend Warren Mackey has a much greater responsibility to his constituents than statue removal. A gunshot victim is believed to cost the hospital about $25,000 in the first hour. In virtually every instance, the victim has no ability to pay. So, if we have had 125 shooting this year, at a bare-bones $25,000 each (most involve surgeries and much more in-house costs), that’s $3.125 million in indigent health care.

That’s this year … in 2020. We had three children shot 10 days ago. And some activist named Betsy Darden is worried about a statue? Dr. Mackey says he never heard of a country who erects statues of those who are honored for killing their own people, but I contend life’s depravity and violence is borne in the Scriptures, my friend. Trust me, I’ve been to Russia, the Land of Stalin and Lenin. I’ve watched Fidel Castro, North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un, and the modern-day Venezuelan, embattled ruler President Nicolas Maduro.

Warren contends the black people of our community are affronted by a statue. May I be bold enough to say the white people, our Hispanics, every black family, and even those who visit our wonderful community are far more concerned, threatened, and fearful of thugs with guns than of any statue, whether still standing or fallen. Please, let’s confront the monsters and leave the ghosts to play among themselves.

That statue of A.P. Stewart is going nowhere. So, instead let’s stop today’s bloodshed. That would be of utmost significance to the living, versus fighting windmills where the best outcome still means absolutely nothing compared to over 125 citizens in our Hamilton County who have been shot in just the past nine months.

royexum@aol.com


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