Daily Caller reports astounding findings over the weekend about public sentiment over Confederate statues, largely found in the South. The most amazing poll is that by a 44%-41% split, African-Americans want the statues to stay.
It would have been even more informative had the polls reflected the votes by regions of the country, red or blue, the levels of education, especially among blacks. Charles Barkley, a famous sportscaster and NBA-star, from rural Alabama, said he had seen them for years and never once gave it a second thought. He represents both a region and an age group, who see the statues differently from what we see in the news. Apparently they are the 44%..
Barkley also reflects the sentiments of most of my black friends in Richmond, the home of the Confederacy. Most of them are working men, or retired, only a few are white collar government workers. There is a bitchy quality to the Millennial black and white women presented by television, who rant more than discuss about these expressions of racism and white privilege they were apparently taught in college. They usually have a seat on panel discussion on all the media shows and generally respresent the 41%
65% of the white people, (and Hispanics), also like the statues as they are, and is probably much higher in the South where those statues reflect more than history, but also heritage. Family heritage. Most southern folk actually had family members fight in that war.
By contrast, Virginia’s governor, Terry McAuliffe is not a native Virginian (new York). Neither are its two senators, Mark Warner (Indiana) and Tim Kaine (Minnesota.) No skin in the game. Once upon a time they’d have been called carpetbaggers. And I expect to see that term come back into fashion if the issue continues, along with the aforementioned “bitchiness”, as personified by our 911 Emergency cover-girl, above.
I think you can look for “official” actions against the statuary to diminish. In part this is because they are not on such strong legal ground. Gov McAuliffe, who seems to want to be president some day, found out quickly he cannot move any statue by executive action. City councils often can, at least in Virginia. But in some states, the legislatures have control. This means blue cities will be quicker to react, especially if they host blue universities such as in Charlottesville. But the rub is those blue cities often find themselves islands in a sea of red, so the political fallout can be unintended and disastrous, especially if their actions reach beyond the superficial nitwittery of millennial yammerings about white supremacy and percolate down into the much deeper heritage issues.
Even in Virginia, it seems there are many liberals who still claim a heritage back to the old South, and have found the inaction of public officials and their rhetoric disturbing. We’re having a gubernatiorial race in Virginia right now, with a predictable leftwing Democrat running against a predictable lackluster establishment Republican. A week before C’ville, the Democrat (named Northam) had a 5-point edge over the Republican (named Gillespie, a former GW Bush staffer.) A week later, Gillespie was up 7%. You don’t have to be Fellini to figure out what moved the needle.
Charlottesville city politics is now on the edge, as well. So it will be in Durham, NC, home of Duke University, another bastion of leftwing social studies, like the University of Virginia, where students (in all likelihood) and in possible affiliation with Antifa and Black Lives Matter, pulled down and destroyed a cast bronze statue of a Confederate soldier, perhaps forgetting that by museum value alone, the vandalism was a felony. Now, don’t look for felony charges to fall, or for anything remotely harsh by way of punishment…this is why Antifa, BLM and student radicals choose the safety of blue citis and police forces to do their deeds anyway. But the city and university fathers may have misjudged public reaction.
The poll cited above should give city fathers second thoughts, including Lexington, Kentucky, which appears to be the next target for legal demolition.
Finally, there is another risk involved. Indiscriminate statue terrorism.
At some point it won’t matter if vandals and copycats are just joining in with the fun and esprit of destruction, or if they are even political at all. Every outdoor statue becomes a target, including modern art monstrosities adorning the white pebbled entrance-ways to several fine art museums. Just remember the Jake Spoon Law, that when you open certain cans of worms, everything becomes a crap shoot.
So if you think General Lee is a demigod to the old Confederacy, Christopher Columbus (an Italian and not a Spaniard for those of you who read) is a patron icon to many Italian and Sicilian families living around the country. New York City’s several Italian civic leagues have already warned Mayor DeBlasio they will pull all support if he makes, or allows, as the Durham and Charlottesville police “allowed”, anything to happen to Christopher Columbus’ statue in Columbus Circle.
If history serves, this is no mere political warning.
And just so you’ll know it if you’re really very young and brash, the Italian-American community has loose affiliates who historically have never relied on police protection in the first place. They have means to protect what’s importahnt to them and the means to punish, often without recourse, acts that disrespect them.
Back in the 60s-70s, when the mobs ran Las Vegas, it had some of the lowest crime rates in America. I was told then that if a kid were to steal hubcaps off a car, the least of his worries was to be caught by the police.