Vestiges Of Insensitive Names And Imagery Challenged
Black Lives Matter and the tragic death of George Floyd have shaken America to its core and revealed a nation weary and now angry over the state of race relations in this country. To that point, everything seems to be on the table for discussion. Charging four policemen in Minneapolis, MN is not nearly enough to satisfy the thirst for real change in race relations. This includes racist images, names and statues representing racial insensitivity. This is a part of the myriad of changes needed to set in place some measure of sensitivity.
Apparently, we are either still fighting the Civil War, or some believe the South actually won. What is clear is that in the hateful aftermath of the bloody war between the states, former confederate states erected statues of their rebel leaders despite the fact they were basically traitors. The southern men who were honored were also fighting their own government for the right to enslave a race of people. Some supporters of confederate statues say it is a monument to their culture. One is hard pressed to see how owning people is cultural.
There is a push to rename military bases that bear the name of confederates because they are not worthy of the honor. It is an insult to black descendants of slaves who suffered unimaginable pain under southern rule. It is an insult to black soldiers who were trained there and forced to wear clothing bearing the name of slave owners. One of the genuinely surprising outcomes is the push to rename United States military bases named after racists.
The United States Senate led by Defense Chairman Jim Inhofe is looking at starting the process of renaming military bases. This after the committee adopted an amendment by Sen. Elizabeth Warren to create a commission to study and provide recommendations concerning the removal, names, symbols, displays, monuments, and paraphernalia that pay homage to confederate leaders. Under the bill, the plan would be implemented three years after enactment of the legislation. Not exactly fast action. How much time do they need to determine if honoring slavery protecting traitors is a good idea?
Inhofe wants states and local communities to have input into whether military bases named after confederate military leaders should be renamed. That is a ridiculous plan because the decision should be centered on if it is a good and proper idea; not if it is popular. It is like conducting a poll on if a racial issue should be changed after years of institutional honor. Why do we need the senate if they are going to defer a delicate decision because it is likely to upset confederate or racially insensitive voters?
Inhofe is expected to amend the bill before it goes before the full senate so that any decision to rename a base will be optional rather than mandatory. That is weak and a waste of effort. There is nothing in this current bill that would lead anyone into believing change is coming out of the senate on this issue. Hopefully, the House of Representatives led by Oklahoma congresswoman Kendra Horn can offer a bill with some moral spine built into it. She is a leader in this discussion as a member of the House Armed Services Committee.
The Marines have banned all confederate imagery from their bases. It was criticized by Trump as was the Senate’s committee bill to possibly rename confederate named bases.
NASCAR, the racing organization that is wildly popular in the south is banning the use of confederate flags at their events. One car was seen with the initials BLM or Black Lives Matter. Too bad the United States does have the courage of NASCAR.
Colin Kaepernick is the tragically courageous quarterback who was drummed out of the NFL by Trump and insensitive owners over his decision to kneel to bring attention to violence towards African Americans by police. Now he may return to the NFL and you can count on many players kneeling next year if society does not change.
Statues are being pulled down all over the nation and locally the Cherokee Nation recently removed two Confederate monuments from its Capitol Square last week. They did not take a poll to gauge its popularity. They just did the right thing.
In New Mexico the brutal conquistador Juan De Onate, there are several statues honoring a man who massacred Acoma Pueblo Indians and cut off the right feet of survivors in an attempt to colonize the peaceful people. There was an attempt to bring down one of the statues when supporters of the Spaniard came to defend the monument. Ultimately, three of the militiamen were arrested after one of them shot and wounded one of the protestors. Change will not come easy and some will sacrifice much.
This nation cannot celebrate diversity when it has one foot in the Civil war.