Roy Exum: Weekend Leftovers

Monday, June 29, 2020 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

As this week we prepare to celebrate America’s Independence on Saturday, I find my desk is groaning under the weight of things I must share, so please indulge my need to serve some leftovers lest they turn stale and be forgotten.

The most horrifying story of the month, which ends Tuesday night, came on Sunday when the lead story on Chattanoogan.com blared: “BBQ Restaurant Cancels Order For ‘Back The Police Rally’ After Getting Threats The Business Would Be Burned Down.” The story, which you can read on this website, is sickening and, while my lifelong experiences with those who threaten me have been cowards, it is a terrible reflection on today’s state of affairs.

The threatening calls to Shuford’s BBQ on Signal Mountain Road should trigger any of us planning to serve barbeque on The Fourth of July to consider patronizing Shuford’s (phone (423) 267-0080) and insist they take your credit/debit card and bill you immediately, thus foiling bogus no-shows from the evil side).

Trust me, Shuford’s is easily one of the best sources for BBQ in the tri-state area.

* * *

INDIAN CHIEF HAS A BETTER IDEA THAN TEARING A STATUE DOWN

Michell Hicks was the Principal Chief of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians for over 10 years and those of simpler minds might believe he would be at the forefront of those wishing to tear down the statue of Andrew Jackson, who as President in 1830 signed the Indian Removal Act, today better known as “The Trail of Tears.”

There is a statue of Jackson in front of the North Carolina State Capitol in Raleigh. And as the former chief explained on CBS: “The Cherokees alone, we lost approximately a third of our population. And think about that — a third of the Cherokee population was lost because of a decision that was made at the federal level to take our land and move us west. I mean, you want to talk about social injustice …”

But then, in one of the wisest statements that has been said during the latest scourge of monument attacks by “the stupids” across America, Hicks said this, “Natives represent less than 1 percent of the overall population of the United States, although we’ve been here for centuries,” he reasoned. “However, you don’t ever hear about it. And so, again, the thought of social injustice is not focused on one culture. It should be focused on all the related cultures to define the balance.”

No, he definitely wants to keep the statue for a particularly important reason. He would rather there be a marker beside it, telling the full story rather than see the total story be erased.

“If statues are going to be displayed, then they need to be related to the true history and not just recognized for simply the positive things that occurred under one’s leadership. I mean, a true history is what natives have always asked for,” Hicks said.

What better way to bring attention to today’s needs of Native Americans. Today 25 percent of the Natives live in poverty. “Let’s talk about people in general, people in their communities,” he said, “and find ways to build infrastructure that really lifts up those that are living in these situations.”

Is that beautiful or what?

* * *

YEAH, THERE ARE SOME HUGE ‘MONUMENTS’ TO HITLER

I love reading the “Rants” in the Sunday newspaper. This week somebody I’d love to know wrote, “I, for one, love Roman numerals.” Lordy, if only the rest of us could be so clever! There were several who apparently feel the same way about history and monuments that I do, in that each carries a lesson with it that has triggered and inspired thought for every generation since: One ‘rant’ read: “Erasing the past will not fix the present. Change hearts, folks …”

I also enjoyed the view: “Statues of Confederates are appropriate due to our history. So, Germany and Austria should have statues of Hitler because he is part of their history.” My friend, the biggest statues in Germany, Poland, Austria and elsewhere are the largest in those countries – about 40 miles south of Berlin is the Dachau concentration camp. It is a well-kept monument that has over 800,000 visitors every year to remind the world “Never again.” I dare anyone to see it, and not feel the wetness that is on every face you’ll see. The world’s greatest atrocity is a wonderful teacher. And that’s why monuments were first built.

True, in Europe you’ll find no memorials to Franco or Mussolini (although postcards of him hanging from a rope are still popular.) In Russia, likenesses of Stalin and Lenin are rare, yet their atrocities are taught in schools and every kid can recognize their faces, the same way you and I can readily identify a photograph of Hitler, right? Hussein – ask any GI who fought in the Gulf War..

royexum@aol.com


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