Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Recommendation to move Confederate mounument to a black cemetray sounds like satire news.

Can we have a talk involving the most ridiculous recommendation ever?

Given our current national and state political climate, there are numerous bad proposals that come to mind. None of them are as offensive and ill-judged as the one made to place part of the torn down Confederate monument inside the old courthouse and the other part in a black cemetery.

I was convinced it was satire journalism, "MSNBC to air Obama's 2004 Convention Speech during Trump's address to nation", Andy Borowitz’s recent column in the New Yorker. You know it’s not true, but it’s funny and insulting enough to make some think it’s true.

Dawn Baumgartner Vaughn’s reporting on the proposals of the committee appointed to determine the fate of the Confederate monument torn down by protestors in 2017, felt like a joke. A terrible joke.  A joke intended to offend black residents. Why would they make such insensitive recommendations?

I wish I could pray and make the truth go away. Can someone snap their fingers and take us back to the day before the committee stood before members of the Board of County Commissioners and City Council. Please, make it go away.

How did this happen?

The recommendation for part of the monument to be placed inside the old courthouse included turning the base into public art. I’m not sure how an artist can legitimately convert a symbol of hate into art. I remember an NPR segment with David Greene, a Scottish business student, that suggested "Much like beauty, art is in the eye of the beholder", but anything connected to the Confederacy is just ugly. That’s my unyielding position on that.

It’s safe to conclude the committee has wasted taxpayers time in waiting for a reasonable solution. We hoped those appointed would come back with answers that would appease the hotheads on both sides of Civil War leanings. The debate on Confederate monuments has left numerous people emotionally dead after banter regarding the merits of Southern pride.

These proposals aren’t a compromise. They add venom to the bite. Did the committee think about the rage related to placing the statue of a Confederate soldier in a black cemetery? How is that better than placing the symbol of white supremacy in front of the old courthouse? Both are bad, but how do members of the committee justify placing the statute in a place that honors the dead?

It feels like white supremacy declaring the power to place you there. I’ll pass.

Durham Mayor Steve Schewel was quick to wash his hands of all responsibility. He told Baumgartner it’s now up to the county commissioners to decide what to do with the committee’s recommendations. It’s smart to walk away before this blows up in his face. Schewel was down with forming the committee, but now he’s only willing to offer free advice.

My advice is for a more proactive position. What’s wrong with declaring this won’t work in Durham. It was politically expedient to put your foot in the mud, but you pull it out when it gets too dirty. Leaving the commissioners on deck to deal with these laughable recommendations is not the leadership we deserve.

I wish it was satire, but this is the type of news that will have people across the nation laughing at Durham like we’re severely stuck on uplifting ridiculous recommendations.

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