The short answer…. Because standing up to a bully is always the right thing to do. I am sure when most people see the billboard, the focus will unfortunately be on the X in the word coexist being a confederate flag. Please allow me to address this first. Fair minded people will also look at the rest of the letters and what they represent. Close minded people will not. Close minded people are of the belief that because a small minority have hijacked the flag as part of their racist agenda that it is now tainted and can no longer be used. Anti abortionists blow up clinics in the name of Jesus and are condemned by Christians for using their cross as a symbol. This does not mean we should condemn people who wear crosses. Those who have a different reverence for the flag based on their heritage of fighting for state sovereignty should be taken at their word, not be compelled to give up their flag or their monuments at the hands of bullies. Everyone should be allowed to honor their past within the law. Reasonable people can disagree and still show mutual respect without advocating revolution in the streets as we have seen in the toppling of statues, most recently in North Carolina.
Fighting oppression with oppression only leads to revenge which is often more oppression. When the north freed the slaves of their oppression and then oppressed the fallen southerners, they then responded with oppression of blacks who are still healing from the damage. It has never worked and never will, yet the elites love to use it as a tool to control the populace for their respective aspirations. Today’s version is the elites agenda to keep everyone at each others throats by forcing people to accept behaviors and values they disagree with, by the use of judges instead of elected officials, and influenced by the media on the right and left to keep the battles going.
All people should be allowed to honor their ancestors and mutual respect needs to be the rule of the day. The simple fact is that the overwhelming majority of soldiers who fought and died in the south for the civil war had very little to start with. They (or the bank) owned a few acres of land and did all of the work themselves barely making enough to scrape by. They were called to order at the behest of a very wealthy elite who were trying to preserve their wealth. A wealth that was earned by exploiting the black race who also has every right to honor its past. So blacks and whites neither of which had any real opportunity other than to keep working to survive should both have the opportunity to honor their dead. The elites of today would try and pit these people against one another with the explanation that the whites had the choice to leave and the blacks did not. The truth is the majority of whites did not have the choice to leave in any meaningful way , and refusing to acknowledge this is just white and black elites keeping the two sides fighting perpetually to protect their grand lifestyle in the political spotlight.
So we did the billboard. Stop the fighting over monuments and spend the energy on education so that we can all live in relative harmony. Tell the race baiters on both sides to shut up. Tell them you are not listening anymore. On Monday they tell us we we need racial diversity, on Tuesday they tell us racial appropriation is racist. Well which is it? Diversity is when we all share our cultures to live in harmony, and culture assimilation is when that occurs. It only takes a quick look around to see that the vast majority of us are getting along and working to heal the differences everyday. Dividing us over 100 year old statues is counterporductive. Left to our own devices without interference from charlatans we the people would heal on our own through common sense and a natural desire to be happy.
We will not heal and move on until we stand up to the leaders who play us off against each other. The statues in Charlottesville represent different things to different people but they in and of themselves do not represent an agenda to turn back time as is proclaimed by some very selfish, misinformed and politically motivated people.
It is true that there are white supremacists just as it is true that there are black gangs that commit violence against white people due to their skin color. We need to come together as a people and condemn both groups and strive to achieve racial harmony so that the next generation will yield far fewer who have these ridiculous thoughts. The solution is evolution not revolution. Some minds open slower than others and some are stuck in a narrow rut, but if we all reject the people on both extremes we will be the overwhelming majority and they will fade away and become irrelevant as they should.
We have come a long way. There are more interracial relationships then ever. Those on the sidelines with chosen segregation will be brought into the fold by natural occurrence as long as we stop the elite from dividing us. The left seeks division to retain the strong black voter base, the right does it to use fear to keep their strong white middle class voter base intact. The fact is that both political parties are more harmful to race relations than any flag or statue.
Finally, to those opposing the statues, try and look at it from the point of view of those who believe that these men were fighting for Virginia against a tyrannical federal government. Take them at their word until they show you evidence to the contrary. If you listen you may find that they are supportive of all things to make race relations better just like you. They are not monuments in support of black oppression as at least one local leader would have you believe. They are monuments in support of stopping oppression from the Federal Government into state affairs. RE Lee and Stonewall Jackson may have been woefully ignorant of the irony. They may have been selfish, as they only stood up when it affected them directly, but they did stand up for Virginia when blood was spilled. I am not asking for anything more than tolerance and respect of others beliefs. There is plenty of room for other monuments and there is plenty of room for common ground, but only if we work to stop the elite from dividing us.
Leave the statues be, and move on. Charlottesville has been devastated by the illegal attempts of a political leader wannabe whose actions, and failed attempt resulted in three deaths and a city economy in shambles. The press has failed miserably to hold him accountable for his actions, but that doesn’t mean we have to continue to allow him to divide us with racist rhetoric. We are better than that.
Thank you. Mitch Carr
(Mitch Carr is the founding editor of the Charlottesville Free Press an online news source created to balance the news coverage in Charlottesville and the surrounding counties. He was a resident of Charlottesville as a child, and spent three years in the public schools there. He is a retired businessman who splits his time between Scottsville and Washington DC ,who has minor real estate holdings in the area, and is the author of four books. )