You may not like what you are about to read, but I am going to write it anyway. If I don’t write what I truly feel, what I believe is right, I wil have no integrity and nothing I write, whether you like it or not, will be worth reading.
I have seen several posts on Facebook of a video where a crowd of young people in Durham, NC pulls down a Civil War monument and then kicks and stomps on the broken statue. I’m sorry, that was a dumb stunt that makes everyone who cares about the cause look bad. Just as troubling are the many comments on those posts from others praising their actions and calling them heroes.
They are not heroes; they’re young idiots, well intentioned idiots perhaps, but idiots never the less. When we are out on the streets demonstrating for our cause, whether we realize it or not, we represent that cause to the public at large. Peaceful demonstrations, and even civil disobedience are admirable in the fight for justice; violence and destruction of property is always totally counterproductive, regardless of how satisfying it may be. When some of our number act like a criminals they don’t honor our cause, they bring shame to it. When people let their emotions run wild and act like bigots do when supporting their causes, they bring us all down to the level of the enemy.
If there is a statue in your community that you find offensive, go through the proper channels to have it removed. It may take a while, but when you win you can savor your victory instead of trying to find a lawyer to represent you while you sit in jail. The young lady in Durham who tied a rope to the head of the statue so the crowd could pull it down has already arrested and charged with a felony. Numerous other arrest warrants have already been issued. With their faces plastered all over the internet, it should take long for the police to track all who participated down. The young woman made a speech before her arrest called for all that involved to be granted amnesty. Sorry, amnesty is not usually granted for good intentions when acting criminally stupid.
I am not looking forward to national media attention as these young people are arraigned and tried. Worse yet for our cause, the calls of moral equivalency made will be many, however inaccurate. Unlike those like the Selma marchers who were beaten and jailed in their attempt to secure justice, or the peaceful counter-protestors in Charlottesville, some of whom were injured and even died defying bigotry; the young rowdies in Durham will never be my heroes. Instead, I will remember them for their attempts to prove that Donald Trump was right after all. And that frankly, pisses me off because Donald Trump is not, and will never be right on that subject.