On my right arm, there are two parallel knife scars. On my left jaw, under my beard, is another, unrelated knife scar.
The origins of all three have no real bearing here, except that I learned some lessons in both situations. I reckon I could, were I vain, have them removed, but it would accomplish nothing. A few thousand dollars in surgery wouldn’t erase what happened, and might marginalize the good that came about in each case. The scars – and both the good and bad memories that led to them — are part of my own history.
My family in New Orleans is more than a bit ashamed of the Cajun Capital right now. In a desperate bid to bow to political correctness, Confederate statues are going down all over the city, sometimes in the dark of night, sometimes after both opponents and supporters have been arrested for exercising their constitutional rights. Apparently, the city fathers think that by destroying monuments of another time and place, they can erase the ills and woes of their town.
There are entire neighborhoods in the Big Easy that are ghost towns, 12 years after Hurricane Katrina, when the city and state leaders allowed folks to die because it might make the president look good if they freed up school buses to evacuate folks. I hear from friends down that way about finding skeletons of folks who couldn’t or didn’t get out because they had no way to run. Shoot, had one of the heroes in my family not reacted as he did, I likely would have no connection down there any more. Unemployment is still staggering, despite the improving economy. Some families still haven’t found relatives who ended up in different refugee shelters.
The Big Easy had 175 murders in 2016, according to local media, but only just over 100, by the stricter reporting standards of the FBI statisticians. That’s more than it had in the previous 15 years, and enough to put it in the top 15 most dangerous cities in the country. Out-of-wedlock pregnancies and single-parent households are at an all-time high. At certain times of the year, sexual assaults are given only a cursory investigation, at best. The opioid epidemic we see daily in North Carolina is exponentially larger down that way.
So the N’Awleans mayor decides to knock down the Confederate monuments.
Okay. That will make everything better. Sure.
I am not going to deny the existence of my 11 Confederate ancestors, any more than I am going to denounce what we’d now consider war crimes by a relative during the French and Indian conflicts of the 1750s. Nor am I going to apologize that some of my ancestors owned and traded in slaves. More of my folks didn’t support slavery than did, and none who could write ever mentioned owning humans as a reason for going to war, but that’s beside the point. I never have had a desire to own another human being, nor I am responsible for my long-dead ancestors’ behavior. If you have a problem with them, you need to go dig them up and discuss it with them.
I did some serious looking around before writing this column, and never found a single name of a protest group attached to any of the folks trying to do some good down there in Louisiana. Perhaps the Antifa crowd is rebuilding homes in the Ninth Ward when they have time off from assaulting police officers, but I doubt it.
Ironically, one of the enduring images of the days before Sept. 11, 2001, was of the Taliban destroying statues in Afghanistan. Destruction of priceless antiquities of another time and place was rated as one of the Taliban’s least offensive habits, but it was still held up to the world as why they were bad folks, even before terrorism struck home here in America. That was one reason my nephew and so many men and women of this country fought and are still fighting – not for a statue, but to keep folks who are scared of a statue from doing anything stupid here.
Perhaps I should gather a group of fellow Southron descendants and begin violent protests in cities where the statues are of Yankees, rather than Confederates. Really, there should be more protests in Northern cities. New Orleans notwithstanding, crime rates are even worse in the states that still had slavery until well after Appomattox. That’s another conveniently forgotten historical tidbit, by the way—Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation only applied to the states of the Confederacy.
The Nazis, remember, regularly trashed synagogues and defaced any symbols of Judaism – Hitler even made it a national pastime of sorts, with Kristallnacht as kind of like Super Bowl Sunday for fascists.
Not too far from where some of the statues are being destroyed in New Orleans stands the National World War II museum, honoring those who saved us from Nazism. Since WWII was fought by a largely segregated military, should that museum be demolished? I’m sure it would make all the bad thoughts of WWII disappear, and make everything hunky-dory.
Then there are the historical markers to men and women of all colors marking the roadsides—perhaps, if we tore those down, all the bad stuff that occurred, bad stuff which often inspired the good deeds and great acts of the folks memorialized – perhaps that would disappear, too.
A few weeks ago, a lovely, sweet young woman told me that she didn’t care anything about anything that happened before the year of her birth. It didn’t matter, she said. Let’s just say that my marriage is a little bit older than she is.
We have the right not to care, I guess, but it’s ridiculous to carry denial to the point of trying to erase or rewrite the past, because we might not like its inconvenient truths.
I doubt that most of the leftwing moonbat apologistic narcissists, or the politicians who love them, are aware of the fact that many of the statues in Southern courthouse squares were made using the same basic forms and molds as their bronze cousins commemorating different soldiers in a different army north of the Mason-Dixon line.
Just like our country, good or bad, ugly or pretty, painful or reassuring – they’re all Americans, made in the same basic mold, who took different roads. Tearing up those bridges to our past accomplishes nothing except to re-divide a country that a lot of folks died for to make us into one nation.
I could have the scars on my arm and jaw erased, but that wouldn’t erase the hurt of years past, and the lessons learned. I reckon I’d rather have them there – not to obsess on the pain from those times, but so I never forget the lessons learned.