New Orleans is a wonderful city. It’s got beautiful and unique architecture, amazing food and incredible entertainment.
It’s gotten even better these past few weeks through the removal of two of the four prominent confederate statues that are scattered throughout the city. The first one to come down was the memorial commemorating the Battle of Liberty Place, a 1891 insurrection by the Crescent City White League against the Reconstruction era government within the city.
Next to be toppled was Jefferson Davis, the President of the Confederate States of America. Despite losing the Civil War, serving two years in prison (I still can’t believe he wasn’t locked up until death) and having his U.S. citizenship stripped, Davis remained committed to slavery, white supremacy and segregation for the rest of his life. He learned nothing from the loss of hundreds of thousands of lives and a stint in the slammer.
These removals have drawn protestors, as well as those celebrating their demise. These protestors, like the ones clamoring in the wake of the Charleston church terrorist attack that removing these symbols would only do harm, that it was an attack on heritage, on Southern tradition, that the flag itself meant nothing save for a family heirloom.
The confederacy was a violent reaction to slaves gaining rights and the election of Abraham Lincoln. The men who wanted to mold a new nation where whites would rule forever thought black people to be subhuman, dispensable, property. They beat the men, raped the women and condemned the children to life in the fields. The reverberations of these genocidal actions shape the structure of our society today.
Who in their right mind would be proud of that? Who would celebrate this schema? The cheers that champion this craven worldview are a dying rebel yell, born of a deep insecurity that they will never amount to anything and thus it would be better to oppress someone than to confront the corporations and carnivorous capitalists that are the true sources of their scrooge.