I respect Mayor Tomlinson's resistance to tearing down the Confederate monument on Broadway, but I wince at the sunny half-truths in her reasons why.
She says it’s a monument to fallen soldiers, not slavery, and it’s true that the inscription on its south side begins: “To honor the Confederate soldiers who died.” But it goes on to say they died “to repel unconstitutional invasion” and to “perpetuate forever the sovereignty of the states.” The east and west panels declare that “no truth is lost for which the true are weeping” and hails “the cause tho lost still just.” And lest there be any confusion about the just cause and truth to which they refer, the panel facing north bears the emblem of the Confederacy.
She points out that it was erected in 1879, "not during the pushback from the civil rights movement or in conjunction with Jim Crow.” In fact, the late 1870s were when the Jim Crow era began in a fury of lawlessness and terror, when Amendments 13 through 15 were summarily rejected, and the state’s new constitution codified white supremacy.
And while she’s correct in saying the monument was paid for by families of the fallen, not the city, she doesn’t mention that the city pays for its upkeep and has done so for generations.
I believe Mayor Tomlinson‘s heart is in the right place, but I urge her to follow the cue of other mayors in our state. The mayors of Atlanta and Savannah aren’t firing up the bulldozers, but they are leading their communities to squarely face the history these monuments represent, and to come up with ways to amend or augment them. I hope she’ll use her convening power to do the same here in Columbus.
Joe Miller, Columbus
“Congress shall make no law respecting . . . the right of the people peaceably to assemble …” And so pursuant to this right some folks in Virginia were allowed to gather in support of a statue after a federal judge determined that it could be done peaceably. It will take a while to determine how it all went wrong, but Alt-Right and Alt-Left extremists were allowed to engage, swamping many innocent folks who came there peaceably, and producing many injuries and one death. Public safety plans and actions were of no effect; the press was in abundance and provided us with proof of violence by both sides. But when President Trump failed to use certain magic words to condemn the Alt-Right, the condemnation was radioactive and unrelenting. At long last he had stepped on the ultimate trip wire justifying the torrent of sanctimonious outrage.
And so yet again, the reality of the situation has been altered to support the aims of the Resistance. First, both the Alt-Left and Right are descendants of anarchists, Brown Shirts and lynch mobs among many others. But only the Right is required to disavow and condemn the Alt-Right. The Alt-Left, be they protesting the G-7/8/20 summits or a conservative speaker at Cal-Berkley, has been incorporated into the Left’s mainstream. The Washington Post recently did a puff piece on an anarchist, complete with a photo of a bat on the guy’s shoulder.
All President Trump was trying to do was inject some balance into the controversy. There were indeed “fine people” on both sides who thought they were going to support or protest General Lee’s statue. But while President Trump has indeed condemned the Alt-Right, the Democrats have never condemned the Alt-Left. Why is the lens of reality only one way?
Michael L. Fox, Midland
I wonder how many eye doctors are offering 50% off eye exams after the eclipse … or free exams?! I'm certain everyone will need eyeglasses to repair the damage! Ha! Our society is pitiful. Schools closing early due to “liability issues.” How about having them sign a waiver? The level of stupidity is absurd. When I was a kid you had a couple of pie plates and it was all good. Now we give everybody the day off! There are four eclipses in a year, but because it's in the USA, we demonstrate how weak we've become?
People seem to be less educated. Kids, your grandfathers hit the beach on D-Day ... and you're worried about an eclipse?? Yikes. Oh, and my trash not getting picked up because they got off at noon! I won't tell you what I think about that! The Ledger couldn't print it!
Dawn Burts, Columbus
My friends and family know that I rarely complain (OK, that's a joke), but I feel compelled to chastise the current lack of coverage you devote to high school sports. There are actually some of us in the community who care about these young student-athletes and their endeavors.
First, in past years you listed the local games/contests of the day; now, you just have what's on television. To your credit you did have a list of local high school football games this past Friday, but I want to see the inclusion of other events (for example, cross country, softball and volleyball in the fall).
In addition, in Saturday paper, the only high school football game you covered was a Thursday night game — Hardaway at Troup. No games from Friday night at all, but we did get the opportunity to read about a NASCAR Cup Series race and the relationship between the Falcons' and Steelers' head coaches.
Shame on you, L-E Sports, for choosing to virtually ignore high school athletics. The coverage was bad enough when I was a high school coach, but it has reached a new low in 2017.
Ken Paulk, Columbus