Friday, September 22, 2017

Statues and Monuments - What do they really mean? The Confederate Statue Debate - Ron Duke versus Mayor Mitch Landrieu


Ron Duke of West Virginia
Mayor Mitch Landrieu of New Orleans

It seems our sad state of polarization and dissension have manifested once again in the form of political opposition to the existence of Confederate Monuments.  The left want them to come down.  In certain cases, they were erected as a final testament to the loss of the Civil War, which reflected the battle over slavery, though it was not the only issue behind the Civil War.

There also was a tremendous economic issue involved which seems to be forgotten.  England and France, after losing to the American colonists, quickly adapted after the Revolution and when they were not trying to undermine our new nation, they were most certainly using us to build their own wealth and power.

When Lincoln won the presidency and took office, he was greeted by seven states seceding from the United States.  When he called for volunteers to fight to preserve the union three more states left.  Lincoln's response was to put a naval blockade around the Southern Ports in order to cutoff tobacco and cotton trade with Europe.

Within a few short weeks millions of employees were out of work in England and France, a devastating blow to their economies.  From that point on the two European nations were committed to bringing down this nation of rag tag subjects.

So deep was their commitment to the South that when the war was beginning to look like a Southern victory was possible, at the time of the battle at Gettysburg, England and France had moved troops into North America, Canada and Mexico respectively. A top secret and stunning diplomatic effort by Lincoln brought the Czar of Russia into the action on the side of the Union and forced the two European nations to stay out of the conflict.

That is a story for another day.

Today, 152 years since the Civil War was won by the Union, the battle over the Confederacy seems to be renewed.  There are some who argue that all Confederate Civil War statues and Monuments must come down in the interest of political correctness.

The following are two viewpoints on this issue, one by a West Virginia native, historian, and Kentucky resident, Ron Duke, and the other by Mayor Mitch Landrieu of New Orleans.  I hope you find these helpful in understanding the problem facing much of the South and a few states in the North.

Ron Duke, West Virginia native, historian, and Kentucky resident

Statues and Words

Statues and words are two things that meaning is sure to change over time. Today confederate statues, veritable loser trophies from 100-120 years ago, become an icon of not accepting Trump for President. The Democrats can't change the President but they can make small towns all over the south, that's where the Confederate civil war statues are located, take down or move the participation award from some previous generation.

How is this similar to words. Well take the word bad. Someone who makes you do something you might not have done otherwise in slang is a bad dude. Bad might be a very nice car or it might be a deed you did that was not a good deed. The number of words associated with bad has increased over the last hundred years. It was a natural evolution of language. Meaning changes over time.

One of the first thing a victorious army does when it annexes conquered territory is to force the locals to use the victors language. This is the real goal of the leadership in the liberal response to trump. The people who want to limit the meaning of public art and language in general understand that those who control language control the discussion. There is no rule that says only the winners of wars need be commemorated or a person depicted in a statue has to be a modern saint.

Our past is what it is and any attempt to control the language and iconography are attempts to manipulate the present. To destroy the icons of our past are to forget the hard lessons of our fore-bearers. The left's attempts to destroy these few statues has nothing to do with racism and injustice in the land and has everything to do with trying to tar the opposition as sympathetic to racists, bigots, and all sorts of malaprops.

In politics when a campaign goes negative it is a sign they are losing. The only way they can win is to make the other side look like a dirtier dog than the dirty dog they became. The Democrats know very well how far behind they are now. The level of bile thrown at Trump is public proof of the desperation of the Democrats. They are so far behind they don't have another choice. The internet is still relatively free and we as free people can still talk to each other. 

Thanks be to God.

Ronald W. Duke- Principal Broker 
Kentucky Real Estate and Finance

What will be next to go, Slave owner statues?



Mayor Mitch Landrieu New Orleans

May 23, 2017
Just hours before workers removed a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee — the fourth Confederate monument to be dismantled in New Orleans in recent weeks — Mayor Mitch Landrieu gave a special address at historic Gallier Hall.
Here’s a full transcript of Landrieu’s remarks:
Thank you for coming.
The soul of our beloved City is deeply rooted in a history that has evolved over thousands of years; rooted in a diverse people who have been here together every step of the way – for both good and for ill.
It is a history that holds in its heart the stories of Native Americans: the Choctaw, Houma Nation, the Chitimacha. Of Hernando de Soto, Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, the Acadians, the Islenos, the enslaved people from Senegambia, Free People of Color, the Haitians, the Germans, both the empires of Francexii and Spain. The Italians, the Irish, the Cubans, the south and central Americans, the Vietnamese and so many more.
You see: New Orleans is truly a city of many nations, a melting pot, a bubbling cauldron of many cultures.
There is no other place quite like it in the world that so eloquently exemplifies the uniquely American motto: e pluribus unum — out of many we are one.
But there are also other truths about our city that we must confront. New Orleans was America’s largest slave market: a port where hundreds of thousands of souls were brought, sold and shipped up the Mississippi River to lives of forced labor of misery of rape, of torture.
America was the place where nearly 4,000 of our fellow citizens were lynched, 540 alone in Louisiana; where the courts enshrined ‘separate but equal’; where Freedom riders coming to New Orleans were beaten to a bloody pulp.
So when people say to me that the monuments in question are history, well what I just described is real history as well, and it is the searing truth.
And it immediately begs the questions: why there are no slave ship monuments, no prominent markers on public land to remember the lynchings or the slave blocks; nothing to remember this long chapter of our lives; the pain, the sacrifice, the shame … all of it happening on the soil of New Orleans.
So for those self-appointed defenders of history and the monuments, they are eerily silent on what amounts to this historical malfeasance, a lie by omission.
There is a difference between remembrance of history and reverence of it. For America and New Orleans, it has been a long, winding road, marked by great tragedy and great triumph. But we cannot be afraid of our truth.
As President George W. Bush said at the dedication ceremony for the National Museum of African American History & Culture, “A great nation does not hide its history. It faces its flaws and corrects them.”
So today I want to speak about why we chose to remove these four monuments to the Lost Cause of the Confederacy, but also how and why this process can move us towards healing and understanding of each other.
So, let’s start with the facts.
The historic record is clear: the Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, and P.G.T. Beauregard statues were not erected just to honor these men, but as part of the movement which became known as The Cult of the Lost Cause. This ‘cult’ had one goal — through monuments and through other means — to rewrite history to hide the truth, which is that the Confederacy was on the wrong side of humanity.
First erected over 166 years after the founding of our city and 19 years after the end of the Civil War, the monuments that we took down were meant to rebrand the history of our city and the ideals of a defeated Confederacy.
It is self-evident that these men did not fight for the United States of America, They fought against it. They may have been warriors, but in this cause they were not patriots.
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.
Should you have further doubt about the true goals of the Confederacy, in the very weeks before the war broke out, the Vice President of the Confederacy, Alexander Stephens, made it clear that the Confederate cause was about maintaining slavery and white supremacy.
He said in his now famous ‘Cornerstone speech’ that the Confederacy’s “cornerstone rests upon the great truth, that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery — subordination to the superior race — is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth.”
Now, with these shocking words still ringing in your ears, I want to try to gently peel from your hands the grip on a false narrative of our history that I think weakens us and make straight a wrong turn we made many years ago so we can more closely connect with integrity to the founding principles of our nation and forge a clearer and straighter path toward a better city and more perfect union.
Last year, President Barack Obama echoed these sentiments about the need to contextualize and remember all of our history. He recalled a piece of stone, a slave auction block engraved with a marker commemorating a single moment in 1830 when Andrew Jackson and Henry Clay stood and spoke from it.
President Obama said, “Consider what this artifact tells us about history … on a stone where day after day for years, men and women … bound and bought and sold and bid like cattle on a stone worn down by the tragedy of over a thousand bare feet. For a long time the only thing we considered important, the singular thing we once chose to commemorate as history with a plaque were the unmemorable speeches of two powerful men.”
A piece of stone – one stone. Both stories were history. One story told. One story forgotten or maybe even purposefully ignored.
As clear as it is for me today … for a long time, even though I grew up in one of New Orleans’ most diverse neighborhoods, even with my family’s long proud history of fighting for civil rights … I must have passed by those monuments a million times without giving them a second thought.
So I am not judging anybody, I am not judging people. We all take our own journey on race. I just hope people listen like I did when my dear friend Wynton Marsalis helped me see the truth. He asked me to think about all the people who have left New Orleans because of our exclusionary attitudes.
Another friend asked me to consider these four monuments from the perspective of an African American mother or father trying to explain to their fifth grade daughter who Robert E. Lee is and why he stands atop of our beautiful city. Can you do it?
Can you look into that young girl’s eyes and convince her that Robert E. Lee is there to encourage her? Do you think she will feel inspired and hopeful by that story? Do these monuments help her see a future with limitless potential? Have you ever thought that if her potential is limited, yours and mine are too?
We all know the answer to these very simple questions.
When you look into this child’s eyes is the moment when the searing truth comes into focus for us. This is the moment when we know what is right and what we must do. We can’t walk away from this truth.
And I knew that taking down the monuments was going to be tough, but you elected me to do the right thing, not the easy thing and this is what that looks like. So relocating these Confederate monuments is not about taking something away from someone else. This is not about politics, this is not about blame or retaliation. This is not a na├»ve quest to solve all our problems at once.
This is, however, about showing the whole world that we as a city and as a people are able to acknowledge, understand, reconcile and, most importantly, choose a better future for ourselves, making straight what has been crooked and making right what was wrong.
Otherwise, we will continue to pay a price with discord, with division, and yes, with violence.
To literally put the confederacy on a pedestal in our most prominent places of honor is an inaccurate recitation of our full past, it is an affront to our present, and it is a bad prescription for our future.
History cannot be changed. It cannot be moved like a statue. What is done is done. The Civil War is over, and the Confederacy lost and we are better for it. Surely we are far enough removed from this dark time to acknowledge that the cause of the Confederacy was wrong.
And in the second decade of the 21st century, asking African Americans — or anyone else — to drive by property that they own; occupied by reverential statues of men who fought to destroy the country and deny that person’s humanity seems perverse and absurd.
Centuries-old wounds are still raw because they never healed right in the first place.
Here is the essential truth: we are better together than we are apart. Indivisibility is our essence. Isn’t this the gift that the people of New Orleans have given to the world?
We radiate beauty and grace in our food, in our music, in our architecture, in our joy of life, in our celebration of death; in everything that we do. We gave the world this funky thing called jazz; the most uniquely American art form that is developed across the ages from different cultures.
Think about second lines, think about Mardi Gras, think about muffaletta, think about the Saints, gumbo, red beans and rice. By God, just think. All we hold dear is created by throwing everything in the pot; creating, producing something better; everything a product of our historic diversity.
We are proof that out of many we are one — and better for it! Out of many we are one — and we really do love it!
And yet, we still seem to find so many excuses for not doing the right thing. Again, remember President Bush’s words, “A great nation does not hide its history. It faces its flaws and corrects them.”
We forget, we deny how much we really depend on each other, how much we need each other. We justify our silence and inaction by manufacturing noble causes that marinate in historical denial. We still find a way to say “wait, not so fast.”
But like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “wait has almost always meant never.”
We can’t wait any longer. We need to change. And we need to change now. No more waiting. This is not just about statues, this is about our attitudes and behavior as well. If we take these statues down and don’t change to become a more open and inclusive society this would have all been in vain.
While some have driven by these monuments every day and either revered their beauty or failed to see them at all, many of our neighbors and fellow Americans see them very clearly. Many are painfully aware of the long shadows their presence casts, not only literally but figuratively. And they clearly receive the message that the Confederacy and the cult of the lost cause intended to deliver.
Earlier this week, as the cult of the lost cause statue of P.G.T Beauregard came down, world renowned musician Terence Blanchard stood watch, his wife Robin and their two beautiful daughters at their side.
Terence went to a high school on the edge of City Park named after one of America’s greatest heroes and patriots, John F. Kennedy. But to get there he had to pass by this monument to a man who fought to deny him his humanity.
He said, “I’ve never looked at them as a source of pride … it’s always made me feel as if they were put there by people who don’t respect us. This is something I never thought I’d see in my lifetime. It’s a sign that the world is changing.”
Yes, Terence, it is, and it is long overdue.
Now is the time to send a new message to the next generation of New Orleanians who can follow in Terence and Robin’s remarkable footsteps.
A message about the future, about the next 300 years and beyond; let us not miss this opportunity New Orleans and let us help the rest of the country do the same. Because now is the time for choosing. Now is the time to actually make this the City we always should have been, had we gotten it right in the first place.
We should stop for a moment and ask ourselves — at this point in our history, after Katrina, after Rita, after Ike, after Gustav, after the national recession, after the BP oil catastrophe and after the tornado — if presented with the opportunity to build monuments that told our story or to curate these particular spaces … would these monuments be what we want the world to see? Is this really our story?
We have not erased history; we are becoming part of the city’s history by righting the wrong image these monuments represent and crafting a better, more complete future for all our children and for future generations.
And unlike when these Confederate monuments were first erected as symbols of white supremacy, we now have a chance to create not only new symbols, but to do it together, as one people.
In our blessed land we all come to the table of democracy as equals.
We have to reaffirm our commitment to a future where each citizen is guaranteed the uniquely American gifts of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
That is what really makes America great and today it is more important than ever to hold fast to these values and together say a self-evident truth that out of many we are one. That is why today we reclaim these spaces for the United States of America.
Because we are one nation, not two; indivisible with liberty and justice for all, not some. We all are part of one nation, all pledging allegiance to one flag, the flag of the United States of America. And New Orleanians are in, all of the way.
It is in this union and in this truth that real patriotism is rooted and flourishes.
Instead of revering a 4-year brief historical aberration that was called the Confederacy we can celebrate all 300 years of our rich, diverse history as a place named New Orleans and set the tone for the next 300 years.
After decades of public debate, of anger, of anxiety, of anticipation, of humiliation and of frustration. After public hearings and approvals from three separate community led commissions. After two robust public hearings and a 6-1 vote by the duly elected New Orleans City Council. After review by 13 different federal and state judges. The full weight of the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government has been brought to bear and the monuments in accordance with the law have been removed.
So now is the time to come together and heal and focus on our larger task. Not only building new symbols, but making this city a beautiful manifestation of what is possible and what we as a people can become.
Let us remember what the once exiled, imprisoned and now universally loved  Nelson Mandela and what he said after the fall of apartheid. “If the pain has often been unbearable and the revelations shocking to all of us, it  is because they indeed bring us the beginnings of a common understanding of what happened and a steady restoration of the nation’s humanity.”
So before we part let us again state the truth clearly.
The Confederacy was on the wrong side of history and humanity. It sought to tear apart our nation and subjugate our fellow Americans to slavery. This is the history we should never forget and one that we should never again put on a pedestal to be revered.
As a community, we must recognize the significance of removing New Orleans’ Confederate monuments. It is our acknowledgment that now is the time to take stock of, and then move past, a painful part of our history. Anything less would render generations of courageous struggle and soul-searching a truly lost cause.
Anything less would fall short of the immortal words of our greatest President Abraham Lincoln, who with an open heart and clarity of purpose calls on us today to unite as one people when he said:
“With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to do all which may achieve and cherish: a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.”
Thank you.

CPT Twit - The "V" - Fond Memories of a Greek Wyoming Cowboy Lost in Time and Space - The Don Vassos Synopsis


Don would truly love having his own Coltons Point Times Twit which those of you may not know is our vehicle for communicating with those mostly brain dead and incapable of comprehending 144 character tweets.

It was two years ago his heart gave out as he was preparing for a trip to Wyoming and Maryland.  If you know your geography, traveling to Wyoming from Nebraska is west, while Maryland is east, but those kind of deviations from normality were normal for the "V", as his many friends called him.

Once upon a time the Greek was quite little. 

At a very early age Donnie was taught to love life.

Quite often he was the champion clogger at family gatherings.

Sometime after the atomic bombs were dropped
on Japan Don decided to try the Marlon Brando look.

It was then he had to decide between the pressures of youth...

or the pressure on youth.

So his dad sent him into the mountains,
for his first vision quest.

Once he returned he set out to find a new truck.

He was never that comfortable on bicycles.

Besides, he like the ambiance
of the grease monkey's garage.

Don discovered philosophy at an early age
when he learned to write at about 13.

In time he would be drawn to the ancient temples of Nebraska.

You can see him in seat 120783 on the left doing chants.

The mountain man moved to Omaha to find himself.

There he rediscovered the music and drinking of his youth.

But it was never enough.
He wanted to know what the gods knew.

He wanted to know aliens.

He wanted to see the world up close and personal.

He wanted to be surrounded by a motely crew.

He wanted to build exciting things.

He wanted to find the Hand of God.

So he changed his image to a learned gentleman.

Then surrounded himself with well bred hunters,
Larry, Larry, and Larry.

Now he was the life of the party, the oracle,
the great imposter, and the intelligensia.

Life was good to Don Juan.

Occasionally he made mistakes, like all great minds.
Stu was never meant to be a horse.

Don could now explore from a higher perspective.

He got a radio show on health to save the world.

He found a cool way to get an Oscar.

He and Koory caught the biggest, baddest bass in the world.

Here is the only dog Don could never dominate.

Here was his last dog friend Mr. Henry.

Here was his last great discovery.

And here was his last mission on earth.

So Don, what do you think of your own page.

Figures, farewell old friend.
Ever consider the possibility of staying dead?