They aren’t protesting the flag or the anthem. It isn’t about the flag or the anthem. And if you’re more upset about the way they’re protesting than you are about the reason they have to protest, that’s not about them or the flag or the troops or America — that’s about you.
Confederate statue enthusiasts have argued that removal of such statues amounts to an erasure of history, and that they have to remain to remind us of how bad slavery is. But believe it or not, there are ways to memorialize difficult, painful, and contentious parts of history without glorifying, for instance, generals who led the wrong side of a war to perpetuate slavery. Birmingham’s Kelly Ingram Park provides several examples of different ways to do this with statues and sculptures memorializing the Civil Rights movement. Individually and collectively, they send the message that bigotry is bad, and equality is good, and fighting for freedom is noble, all without putting a single Confederate general on a literal pedestal.
This isn’t how we want America to be. This doesn’t fit into the ideals we have for America. This isn’t how we see America when we squint at it like we’re looking at a Magic Eye painting whenever reality gets scary or disappointing. But it’s America.
They’re going down. Some of them are, anyway. But they’re not going down without a fight from the heritage-not-hate devotees of the tributes to the fight to preserve slavery and white supremacy. New Orleans has taken down statues honoring Confederate generals and leaders, and Charlottesville has voted to do the same. But just as quickly as the statues are falling, city and state governments are proposing protections for such monuments as a matter of “heritage.” Alabama passed theirs on Friday, and Louisiana’s is in the works.
So what’s really behind this desperate protectiveness of Civil War participation trophies, and why do they have no place on taxpayer-owned land? Let’s talk.
On Friday afternoon — International Holocaust Remembrance Day, in fact — Donald Trump signed an executive order essentially banning Muslims from entering the U.S. Because words no longer have meaning, he named it “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States,” and here’s what you need to know about it.
It seems appropriate, in that horrible way that sometimes things seem darkly appropriate, that it’s on International Holocaust Remembrance Day that Donald Trump signed an executive action limiting the flow of refugees into the U.S. It’s called “Protection Of The Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into The United States,” but like so many other duplicitously named bills, it’s less about protecting the country than keeping out Others, banning certain refugees, suspending the refugee program, more than halving the number of refugees who will be allowed into the country, and prioritizing Christian refugees over Muslims.
It’s horrible-appropriate because 80 years ago, those same policies, and those same actions, for those same reasons, turned away thousands of Jewish refugees who were left to die in the concentration camps of Nazi-occupied Europe.
In case the blackening of the skies, shaking of the earth, and disembodied screams of the damned didn’t clue you in, Donald J. Trump was inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States one week ago today. (Just kidding; as Trump himself will tell you, there were no blackened skies because the rain stopped and the sun came out the moment he started speaking.)
[Content note: Violence against Nazis]
So the country is abuzz in the wake of an incident of violence following Friday’s inauguration. Floppy-haired white supremacist Richard Spencer was doing a sidewalk interview with Australia’s ABC when a dude in a hoodie came up from out of nowhere and just fucking clocked him, and then ran off.
Sure, I’ll weigh in, and thanks for asking.
While much of the celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr., Day will take the form of readings and re-publishings of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, The Root chooses to celebrate his acknowledgement of the reality as well as the dream, and of the ongoing fight necessary to turn the one into the other. While many supposedly concerned commentators are quick to invoke the name of MLK as a way of scolding black people to behave themselves, he was actually a radical who wasn’t nearly as lauded by the establishment as he is today.
There’s been a lot of talk lately about dialogue and understanding. Liberals just need to try to understand conservatives, They say. People get defensive when you call them (or, more often, even just imply that they might be) bigots, They say. If we want to get anything accomplished, we need to meet conservatives halfway, (in which “halfway” is usually defined as “on their side”), They say. Generally, the response from the liberal camp is, “Fuck that shit.” You can’t reason someone out of a position they didn’t reason themselves into. It’s hard and unsatisfying, and maybe the New York Times needs to do a Dialogue and Understanding piece about people who are being asked to take on that struggle. That said, dialogue can happen. Here’s how.
After four days of deliberation, the judge declared a mistrial in the case of Michael Slager, a white Charleston police officer who is accused of murder in the death of unarmed black man Walter Scott. Cell phone video shows Slager shooting eight times at Scott as he ran away after a traffic stop for a broken tail light, hitting him in the back three times, killing him. Slager’s attorney called upon the Big Black Monster defense to argue that Scott was “out of control” and fought Slager with “unusual strength.”