In the middle of the night, Baltimore removes its Confederate statues and residents celebrate

The history of the Civil War and the Confederacy are exactly that—history. America has a complex relationship with its history. Certain parts of it, we revere and treat as legend. Other parts, the grim and ugly ones, we shirk away from and have a harder time telling the truth about. The wonderful thing about history is that it provides us an opportunity to look critically at the past and move forward. The debate about Confederate monuments is certainly about history. But we have to be honest about whether or not this particular part of history is the one we want to hold in high regard. Cities across the country are deciding to remove their Confederate monuments—signaling that the time has come to move on from a period in time that represents slavery, racism and the division of the country. And in Baltimore, early on Wednesday morning, the city took a step forward when its Confederate statues were from around the city. 

Statues dedicated to Confederate heroes were swiftly removed across the city in the small hours of Wednesday morning, just days after violence broke out over the removal of a similar monument in neighboring Virginia.

At a news conference on Wednesday, Mayor Catherine Pugh said that given the current political climate, it was important to move “quickly and quietly” as a matter of public safety.

“I thought that there’s enough grandstanding, enough speeches being made,” she said. “Get it done.”

Currently, Baltimore is a predominately black city. This means that for years its black residents were forced to see symbols that are a reminder of the systematic oppression of black people. Moreover, these statues were erected long after the Civil War was over—during the Jim Crow era, another reminder of how black people were (and still are) treated as less than in our society. It’s worth asking why these statues were put up when they were and what the intended message was behind them. Such conversations about the preservation of history need to be had in context. Part of this context includes acknowledging that these monuments which honor individuals who fought to keep blacks enslaved were put up to send a message that folks were, in fact, okay with slavery and racism. 

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Republicans need to name names—or name—if they want anti-white supremacy statements to count

A series of Republican members of Congress came out on Tuesday to say that white supremacists and neo-Nazis are bad. But the majority of them failed a simple test: they didn’t name Donald Trump.

These Republicans weren’t just randomly condemning white supremacists on a Tuesday afternoon because of something white supremacists did that Tuesday afternoon. The main KKK-Nazi action happened over the weekend, and denunciations of that activity itself would have and should have come then. Over the weekend. No, the reason Republicans felt moved on Tuesday afternoon to say, as House Speaker Paul Ryan did, that “White supremacy is repulsive. This bigotry is counter to all this country stands for. There can be no moral ambiguity” is because Donald Trump, their party’s president, who has their support, stood up and said otherwise. But Ryan didn’t, couldn’t, wouldn’t say Trump’s name. He needed to be condemning Trump’s support of white supremacists, not just issuing a pro-forma “Nazis are bad” statement.

Ryan was joined in this particular hall of spineless shame by too many of his Republican colleagues.

North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis: “When it comes to white supremacists & neo-nazis, there can be no equivocating: they’re propagators of hate and bigotry. Period.” Gosh, Thom, who equivocated?
Indiana Sen. Todd Young: “This is simple: we must condemn and marginalize white supremacist groups, not encourage and embolden them.” Gosh, Todd, who encouraged and emboldened them?
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy: “Saturday’s violence and tragic loss of life was a direct consequence of the violent and hateful rhetoric and action from white supremacists in Charlottesville. Race-based supremacy movements have no place in our melting pot culture and do not reflect the ideals enshrined in our Constitution that treats and respects every American equally.” Again, Kevin Kevin Kevin. Why are you talking about Saturday on Tuesday? What happened on Tuesday to prompt this statement?
Reps. Steve Scalise (R-LA) and Mike Coffman (R-CO) had similar things to say. And they failed to say the exact same thing.

Is it impossible to get this one right? No, plenty of Democrats did it. Just for instance:

Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy: “Just stopped on roadside to read @POTUS remarks. I nearly threw up. An American President offering a defense of white supremicists. My god.”
Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden: “Off prompter and in his own words, the president gives comfort to white supremacists and neo-Nazis. Absolutely horrifying.”

 


Wednesday, Aug 16, 2017 · 2:35:14 PM +00:00

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Laura Clawson

Another profile in … not courage.

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McConnell: “There are no good neo-nazis, and those who espouse their views are not supporters of American ideals and freedoms.”

— Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman) August 16, 2017

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Abbreviated Pundit Round-up: The inflection point of a white supremacist apologia

This twitter heavy APR tries to capture the stunned outrage yesterday during and after Donald Trump’s bizarre press conference defending the Nazis in Charlottesville.

It’s blindingly clear Donald Trump is a racist and white supremacist. Journalists can’t pretend otherwise now. Neither can CEO’s.

So what’s the Republican party going to do?

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“The night before people innocently protesting very quietly the taking down of the statue of Robert E. Lee” Trump on the torch carriers pic.twitter.com/UkjUXz9pc3

— Ema O’Connor (@o_ema) August 15, 2017

Politico:

GOP chairmen resist hearings on white supremacy

WaPo:

But there were no chants about Gen. Lee on Friday night, when the far-right marchers carried their torches through the University of Virginia campus. The chants were about Jews and others who the marchers blame for their diminished role in American society.

What follows is good. This is important. This is not enough. What are you going to do about it, Republicans? The press and the GOP are both wrestling with the idea that Trump himself is a white supremacist who apologizes for Nazis. A year too late.

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“We tried to tell y’all.”– Ancient African-American proverb

— Clint Smith (@ClintSmithIII) December 3, 2016

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