From the midweek edition of the Morning Jolt:
Gubernatorial primaries are coming up here in Virginia on June 13. On the Republican side, Ed Gillespie’s the favorite over Corey Stewart and State Sen. Frank Wagner.
With less than two months remaining, Stewart is… well, this looks like a “Hail Mary” pass, declaring on Twitter that “Politicians who are for destroying the statues, monuments and other artifacts of history are exactly like ISIS.”
“Exactly like ISIS”? Exactly like ISIS? Wouldn’t we all agree that if you’re not killing anyone, you’re doing a poor imitation of ISIS?
This is the kind of hyperbolic attack on a lawmaker over terrorism that might even get Rep. Peter King to say, ‘whoa, whoa, whoa.’ Even Alex Jones might say that’s going too far.
This stems from a decision down in New Orleans…
New Orleans on Monday began removing four monuments dedicated to the era of the Confederacy and its aftermath, capping a prolonged battle about the future of the memorials, which critics deemed symbols of racism and intolerance and which supporters viewed as historically important.
Workers dismantled an obelisk, which was erected in 1891 to honor members of the Crescent City White League who in 1874 fought in the Reconstruction-era Battle of Liberty Place against the racially integrated New Orleans police and state militia, Mayor Mitch Landrieu said in a statement.
The workers were dressed in flak jackets, helmets and scarves to conceal their identities because of concerns about their safety. Police officers watched from a nearby hotel.
Before you start saying, “wait, this is part of history, it ought to be preserved, even if it offends people,” note that the Battle of Liberty Place Memorial has the inscription:
“United States troops took over the state government and reinstated the usurpers but the national election of November 1876 recognized white supremacy in the South and gave us our state.”
Yeah, I can’t begrudge citizens of any color for wanting to remove a public memorial declaring the importance of recognizing “white supremacy.”
Think of all the great Louisiana citizens who don’t have a comparable public monument, who have great accomplishments in history or played a role in the city’s comeback from Hurricane Katrina: Fats Domino. Tennessee Williams. Doug Williams. Hank Williams and Hank Williams Jr. (Heck, you need a monument just to the various famous Williamses from Louisiana.) Paul Brudhomme. Anne Rice. Drew Brees. Harry Connick Jr. Bobby Jindal.
There’s no shortage of Confederate monuments in Virginia, but none have garnered quite as much controversy as the ones down in New Orleans. (Richmond added famous African-American tennis star Arthur Ashe to Monument Avenue.) In Alexandria, they renamed their portion of “Jefferson Davis Highway.” (I suggested renaming the highway after two famous Virginians, Thomas Jefferson and former local Congressman Tom Davis. Then the city could save a lot of money by just adding hyphens and making the signs say “Jefferson-Davis Highway.”)
Denouncing the removal of Confederate monuments seems like an odd move; it’s hard to imagine this is front and center in the minds of Virginia Republicans right now. As Liam Donovan pointed out, Virginia is a state of transplants; just under half of all voters in the state are native Virginians.