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Christopher "Tanoro" Gray is a web programmer and science advocate especially concerned with resource management technologies, biology, and artificial intelligence. He is a student of epistemology and philosophy as well as an Atheist competent in Christian theology.
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Neo-Confederate Snowflakes Want Their Monuments on Public Land
Posted by: Tanoro - May 17, 2017 1:30PM

For those of you who don't know, there are places in the Unites States who still have Confederate monuments occupying public property. In many cases, they are maintained by city employees and the land they occupy is covered under the city's tax laws as property of the city. My home of Shreveport, LA has such a monument on its parish courthouse lawn. The statue, which depicts busts of the most notable Confederate generals, was built in 1906 by the request of the Daughters of the Confederacy.

For the past few years, there has been a hot debate over whether or not this monument belongs on the courthouse lawn. The heat has only become more intense as New Orleans works to remove four such monuments of their own under intense protest and torch-wielding protestors -- led by white supremicist, Richard Spencer -- rally in Virginia over another monument. Local concerns here in Shreveport are that the courthouse monument is about to lose its perch as well. A Parish Commission has been assembled and are holding hearings this week to acquire public opinion on the fate of the Caddo Courthouse statue. The battle lines have been drawn and I'm taking this opportunity to shell it with my opinion.

Our History

When I examine both sides of this debate, the issue is clear as glass to me. One side is being dishonest and they don't seem to care even when called on it. The number one go-to argument to keep the statue as is might be stated: "The statue represents our history. As such, moving it offends our heritage." This argument is fair on the surface until we hear from the opposition. By far, the most popular suggestion in favor of moving these monuments is to relocate them to a museum or display them on private property instead. The public would still have access to them either way. For me, that renders the history argument toothless. As this argument is effectively dead, we don't hear it often, right? Every person without exception with whom I've discussed this matter has used this argument as the reason to keep the statue. Worse than that, after being told that history isn't being threatened, they refuse to be satisfied. Just last year, the Caddo Parish monument was the target of vandalism. If one is really concerned about preserving history, one should be happy to see the monument under tighter security in a museum display alongside other similar relics. Why are critics of the statue's removal unwilling to bend on this argument even when it is settled for them? I suggest it is because this isn't their real reason, but more on that later.

Private Property

Another argument, unique to the Caddo Parish monument, is that the monument is located on a tiny slice of private property separate from the rest of the courthouse lot. A critic urged me, quite rudely, to look up the parcel map of the land on microphish. Once I stopped laughing at his antiquated solution, I reminded him that land ownership documents come in the form of deeds, titles, and other legally-binding instruments -- not parcel maps. Still, I like to go far beyond, so I'll bite. I personally called the city clerk's office to inquire about this matter. No deeds or titles of any kind exist indicating an such private ownership of the parcel or any cut from it. I was directed to see the parish assessor's office. The geog. number of the relevant parcel is: 181437-128-0001-00. As we can see from the parcel map, the entire square of land belongs to the court house. This matter is easily confirmed, concluded, and we didn't even need to touch microphish. Catch up with this century, you fucking rubes.

The Real Reason

I have a unique perspective in this fight because I've been on both sides of it. I was born in Bossier City. I was raised in Jonesboro. Parts of my extended family associated with some of the more extreme fringes of society in the old south. I have been exposed to that rhetoric over my years to varying degrees. There is a reason why critics want these monuments to stay on public property and it is the same reason why moving them to a museum is unacceptable to them. The locations these monuments are in right now give the values they represent a subtle flavor of legitimacy and officiality. These are Confederate monuments. They depict men who fought bravely and honorably for what they believed in, as critics often say, but they stop short of drawing the rest of that damning picture. What these brave men believed in and fought for was slavery, racism, and inequality! Having monuments like these on the courthouse lawn is their way of sticking it to American ideology that threw their personal values overboard at Appomattox Court House in 1865, which is why these precious little snowflakes take any threats to these monuments so personally. These critics are Neo-Confederates and these monuments are relics of their unamerican values that they dare not speak in the public forum lest they be ridiculed -- and deservingly so. This is why they also like to criticize monuments to Dr. Martin Luther King as some kind of parallel to their own monuments being threatened. They believe monuments to MLK are intended to stick it to them, which fills in the rest of the picture of what this whole debate is really about. They snear at being called "racist," but it's not my fault for calling a spade a spade.

Reasons to Move

So what are the reasons to move these monuments? Well, I personally don't need any better reason than to piss off Neo-Confederates who I regard as absolute poison to this country, but my personal reasons aren't worth spending tax dollars. A better reason would be that tax dollars are being spent maintaining these items that represent unamerican values that contrast U.S. law. Our local governments, especially our courthouses, are obliged to express themselves in accordance with current American values (i.e. justice, freedom, equality, impartiality). These monuments are billboards to the exact opposite values and, thus, only undermine the authority of our local governments and courts.

The people who covet these monuments have every right to express themselves, even if their ideas are a century dead and immoral. But they don't have any right to make the courthouse their mouthpiece. The monuments need to go.

Update May 24,2017 2:56pm

Apparently, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu reached a similar conclusion I did.

These statues are not just stone and metal. They are not just innocent remembrances of a benign history. These monuments purposefully celebrate a fictional, sanitized Confederacy; ignoring the death, ignoring the enslavement, and the terror that it actually stood for. After the Civil War, these statues were a part of that terrorism as much as a burning cross on someone’s lawn; they were erected purposefully to send a strong message to all who walked in their shadows about who was still in charge in this city.

Update June 6, 2017 12:41pm

The parish commission is set to vote on the fate of the monument tonight, so tensions are high again. Someone on Facebook challenged my assessment of the ownership of the property by the Daughters of Confederacy. I was informed that a 2002 decision by United Title of Louisiana placed the property in th organization's possession. Ok, let's see how this critic's Google-fu goes. I was able to find this document containin a 2002 letter from United Title and a 2016 motion to remove the statue from the courthouse by the end of August 2017 (next month). What was United Title's decision?

A search of the [records] revealed no conveyance of any portion of the referenced property into the Daughters of the Confederacy [or their affiliates].

So this critic was, like many others poisoning this conversation, lying his ass off.

This blog is an editorial and contains only the opinions of the author. The author claims no expertise on most topics of discussion and this blog is not to be cited as an alternative for properly vetted journalism or scientific sources.

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