Aug 31, 2017
Selective Statues And Op-Eds
Much attention has been paid to the noble effort, in many parts of America, to remove offensive statues and memorials of past heroes of the south who are now recognized as villains by their beliefs and deeds. Most of the focus has been on statues depicting Confederate generals, statesmen, and even soldiers. Every day, it seems, brings news of another monument to those associated with protecting evil institutions being removed from a public space.
Sadly, no proper attention is being paid to another so called hero of the past.
This twentieth century president knowingly put a member of the Klu Klux Klan on the supreme court, deliberately excluded black gold medal athletes to a “whites only” White house welcome, refused to sign anti-lynching laws because he was afraid it would lose him white votes, declined to desegregate the military and federal work force that had only recently been segregated by America’s 1st progressive president, Woodrow Wilson, a little over a decade before. He did, however, sign legislation that introduced Redlining as official business for the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) and, as one historian put it, turned the institution into one which “exhorted segregation and enshrined it as public policy.” This same president was the leader of a political party that was heavily populated with outspoken racists. All this said, these many detestable acts, and the tendency to give deferential political treatment to bigots, were just the tip of the iceberg.
This president interned over 120,000 Japanese-Americans in concentration camps simply because they were of Japanese ancestry. Many lost everything they owned, including land, homes, and businesses. During their time in these concentration camps they were separated from immediate family and acquaintances. He also denied Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi Germany on the MS St. Louis entry into the United States, despite direct appeals to him. As a result, many of those poor souls ended up back in the hands of Adolf Hitler.
This President, of course, is Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and even today, he is celebrated by many of the same people who are, at this moment, advocating for the removal of potentially offensive imagery from public spaces.
Now, one might say he did some of these things because that was the thinking of the times, or he had support from congress and/or the Supreme Court. But aren’t these the same excuses we rightfully dismiss when apologists for the confederacy try to justify that racism.? If ridding our public places of certain monuments will serve to unite America and shield the public from unnecessary offense and uncomfortable historical events, then how can we possibly justify memorials and a place on our coins for FDR? On that note, shouldn’t we also agree that the monuments to the five Democratic Senators that signed the racist “Southern Manifesto” Including the still beloved Sam Irvin and Former Senate Leader and Hillary Clinton mentor Robert C. Bryde be removed? Should we then remove the numerous statues, and the name from the many academic buildings of one of America’s most notorious racist residents, Woodrow Wilson.
Who out there, with what I assume are only the best of intentions, could demand we only remove some statues of disgraced historical figures, but leave these others standing? Surely no honest person of any integrity would do such a thing.
Editorial From Molovinsky; The above thought provoking Op-Ed was submitted to The Morning Call last week by Scott Armstrong. After not hearing back from the editor for over a week, Scott asked if I might be interested in printing it. In addition to its own merits, I'm also interested in addressing the paper's editorial policy. I've come to the conclusion that the Morning Call bases their decision on who submits the piece, rather than its merits. Both Armstrong and myself have had our submissions put off, I suspect for being too conservative for the paper's taste. In my case, I also suspect that they are providing cover for certain sacred cows. The red illustration at the top of the post is from Robert Trotner's Facebook page. He also is currently being put off by the editor.