By Glynn Wilson –
WASHINGTON, D.C. — So it seems someone else has noticed the statue of Robert E. Lee in the U.S. Capitol building.
We broke the story that it’s there on Thursday, August 10.
“I will be introducing a bill to remove Confederate statues from the US Capitol building,” Booker said. “This is just one step. We have much work to do.”
As we reported, Thomas Jefferson’s home town of Charlottesville, Virginia has taken over the spotlight from New Orleans as the key battleground city in a new verbal civil war between activists on the left who want Confederate monuments removed from public property and neo-Nazi white nationalists who are fighting to preserve what they see as their “heritage,” a heritage of slavery and hate, according to the other side.
Other cities around the country are moving to remove monuments to the Civil War to avoid conflict and violence after 3 people died and 19 were injured in Charlottesville.
Baltimore, Maryland, removed all of the Civil War hero statues this week from public property there.
City officials in Birmingham, Alabama, want to remove a Confederate monument from Linn Park downtown, but the Republicans in the Alabama Legislature passed a law preventing that. So Birmingham Mayor William Bell ordered the 52-foot-tall monument covered with wooden panels.
Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall filed a lawsuit against the city claiming even that action is in violation of the law, the Memorial Preservation Act, which provides for a $25,000 fine for each violation.
We have still not heard back from the Democratic Governor of Virginia, Terry McAuliffe, who got behind a movement to remove the Confederate flag from a state license plate when first confronted by the controversy in 2015. But he waffled on removing the statues at that time, saying it should be up to local communities to decide. When the state legislature passed a law in 2016 to prevent local governments from removing the statues, however, he vetoed the bill.
McAuliffe has been outspoken against the violent protests in Charlottesville, calling on President Donald Trump to disavow the neo-Nazis and white nationalists who started the protests there. The president has made conflicting statements, even trying to blame the “alt-left” and making a fallacious slippery slope argument that statues of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson might be next. Neither Washington or Jefferson were involve in an uprising to split the United States, a country they helped found.
Virginia Senator Mark Warner, also a Democrat, has not taken a public stand on the issue of the Lee statue in the U.S. Capitol, in National Statuary Hall, even though I told his staff about the statue and asked for a comment.
The state’s other Senator, Tim Kaine, Hillary Clinton’s choice for her vice presidential running mate, is still being so inundated with calls about the statues that there is no way to get through for a comment.
If or when those comments come in, we will report on them.
Corey Booker’s statement is making television news on Thursday morning. I saw it on “Good Day Washington” on the local Fox affiliate, WTTG, while monitoring local news channels.
You can read more about my thoughts on the issue and watch the video after I discovered the Lee statue on a recent tour of the Capitol. It was obvious at the time that no activists on the right or left had noticed the statue was there.
In my editorial opinion, if there is one statue that should be removed, it is the Robert E. Lee statue in the heart of federal power in Washington. As one activist said when told of the statue’s existence, Lee is “the biggest traitor against the United States government in American history.”
As Maryland Senator Chris Van Hollen said in praising the decision by the mayor of Baltimore to remove those statues: “This isn’t a question of erasing history—it’s part of learning from history.”
“I applaud (the) decision of Mayor Pugh to remove Confederate statues,” he said on Twitter.
Perhaps Van Hollen and Senators such as Al Franken of Minnesota and Congressmen such as Steny Hoyer of Maryland should also condemn not just the racism and violence in Charlottsville, but join the fight by moving to remove the statue of Lee from the Capitol.
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