Post#544 MONUMENTAL ISSUES (a pliny Editorial)

Amidst an ongoing, virtually endless debate as to how to represent the darker periods of American history, the frequent media reports of despicable police brutality and homicide, shamefully practiced against unarmed black Americans, has empirically provided a catalyst for protests (by black and white citizens), popularly known by the heart-breaking mantra  “Black Lives Matter.” It has also reignited the movement by citizens of conscience to remove existing public statues and monuments which evince  racist, or discriminatory reference.

Unquestionably, the darkest and most shameful period of that history, existed throughout the 17th and 18th Centuries, when black people were kidnapped from the Continent of Africa and brought in chains to this Country to be relegated to hopeless lives of cruel slavery. The acrimonious debate over slavery was the primary subject leading to the bloody and tragic Civil War.

The morally required progress toward universally equal status for people of color has eternally been resisted by those in our Nation, who seem to have a need, neurotic or otherwise, to irrationally and shamelessly adhere to the bogus belief in the purported superiority of people born with light skin over those gifted by nature with darker color skin. This irrational and dystopian Gulliver’s Travels or Alice in Wonderland predilection, has nevertheless, robbed millions of people born with black and brown skin of equality of treatment and opportunity in virtually every area of life.

Efforts by right thinking Americans, commencing with the nightmarish, post- bellum Reconstruction Period, to date, has resulted in substantial but insufficient, progress. Disappointingly, and admittedly, it appears that much of the empirical progressive change has had its impetus in mandatory legislation and legal precedent. A veritable Herculean challenge exists in evolving the atavistic and immoral mindset of too many “flat- earth” people to the emblematic American aspiration to universal equality.

The ongoing National desire for historical repentance and attainment of universal equity, catalyzed by the recent horrific uptick in police manslaughter of unarmed black Americans, has led to a more active National reckoning including a closer, more sensitized perception of public statues and monuments, deemed capable of memorializing or extolling the racial underbelly of the American past. Debates which seem to be occurring Nationwide, especially in the former Confederate States, seem to us as resolved into two camps: those who support the maintenance of these statues and monuments on arguments in favor of maintaining their historical value, versus those who believe that such claimed historic value, if any, is outweighed by their public insensitivity to the descendants of the victims of the memorialized historic period.

It is our firm opinion that the arguments for the preservation of these monuments on historical grounds are either specious or beside the point. We maintain that public monuments such as statues are empirically, a visible statement of the sentiment and current values of the community. The descendants of victims of America’s most egregious immorality, should logically and justly be vested with the decisional authority, concerning public monuments and statues, reasonably capable of perception as extolling the immoral institution of slavery.

Our stated view that public monuments articulate existing statements of community sentiment and values, is easily confirmed by the existence of the Statue of Liberty standing in New York harbor, since 1886, representing the Nation’s shared sentiment of express welcome to all fugitives of unjust governance and people who simply desire to immigrate to our land to find a better life. The Statue is an evident confirmation of our welcome hand (notwithstanding the opinions of our errant and unprecedented Presidential Administration) to all who desire to come to America.

The final determination of the contested public monument issue, appropriately and  logically, belongs to the people, who, in relatively recent American jurisprudence, were valued and determined, by its highest legal authority, the United States Supreme Court, to be mere “agricultural equipment,” or “chattels,” mandatorily returnable to their “owner.” (Dredd Scott v. Sandford, 1857, J. Taney).


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Retired from the practice of law'; former Editor in Chief of Law Review; Phi Beta Kappa; Poet. Essayist Literature Student and enthusiast.

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