One Karl Oliver, a rethuglican representative, has made an open, unapologetic statement about the removal of monuments to slavery. Specifically, he wrote:
“The destruction of these monuments, erected in the loving memory of our family and fellow Southern Americans, is both heinous and horrific. If the, and I use this term extremely loosely, ‘leadership’ of Louisiana wishes to, in a Nazi-ish fashion, burn books or destroy historical monuments of OUR HISTORY, they should be LYNCHED! Let it be known, I will do all in my power to prevent this from happening in our State.”
I haven’t heard one thing about these statues being destroyed. Removed from the public square, yes. The state could always put them up for auction, so hateful bigots like Oliver and his pals who approved his statement, could fork over serious money for them, and plant them in their backyard, where they could continue to worship hatred, bigotry, and slavery. The money could go for education, so we end up with fewer ignoramuses of Oliver’s type.
As Mayor Mitch Landrieu said, there is a difference between the memory of history, and the reverence of it, and that sentence says all that is needed. These monuments, like the confederate flag, are not a type of aide-mémoire to history; they are a paean to horrible, blood-soaked, hate-fueled times in our recent past. And while we should certainly remember such times and actions, to remind of us of how easily we hate, and how easily we are willing to kill for that hate, that’s not, and never was, the purpose of these monuments. They were created to have some sort of victory; to bolster a sense of self-righteousness in the fight to keep the right of owning other humans.
Not only do I think it’s past time for these types of monuments to go quietly away, I also think the confederate flag, that handy American version of the swastika, should go as well. People such as Karl Oliver need to walk off into the sunset as well, being little more than bags of puffed up, vitriolic bigotry. We don’t need you anymore, either.