Why let the law stand in your way? The cities of Richmond and Portsmouth have decided to ignore the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia. They know that moving war monuments violates that law, yet they are both moving forward with plans to do just that. They know that there is a court case in Charlottesville. They know that 6 attempts in the State House and Senate to change that law were defeated. None of this has slowed them down in their efforts. I know this for a fact because I am there as often as possible to hear them make their hateful proposals.
The Portsmouth case made no sense what so ever. The City of Portsmouth dragged the Stonewall Camp # 380 into court for absolutely no reason. Neither the City Attorney nor the Judge in the case could even define what the case was about. The ruling was nothing that all parties were not already aware of. For the past few decades, no one has been able to determine just who does own the Portsmouth Confederate Monument. The Judge in this case was also not able to make that determination. Out of pure vindictiveness, the City of Portsmouth caused the Stonewall Camp the burden of unnecessary legal fees to defend something that did not even need defending.
I also attended the final meeting of the select panel (7 members) that will submit a recommendation to the Richmond City Council as to the fate of the monuments on Monument Avenue. The obvious answer is that nothing should be done with or to these monuments. What sort of twisted thinking would cause anyone the desire to bring any harm to these great works of art.
According to the panel, the results of the polls taken were:
36% voted.......do away with the monuments
22% voted.......leave as they are
27% voted.......leave in place with interpretation added
16% voted.......no opinion either way
I know that adds up to 101%, their figures......not mine. Who is to say what else may be incorrect or skewed? None the less, this poll shows a clear majority of 49% in favor of leaving the monuments in place. The meeting itself was very telling. There was a (crowd) of 11 spectators. Of this number, at least 2 were city employees who were there to assist with running the meeting. Of the remaining 9, I had only one obvious ally, H. V. Traywick, Jr. He gave each member of the panel a well written handout of the facts relevant to Virginia's part in "The War". The problem is, that these people are not interested in facts. Facts of any kind, about any thing only serve to confuse and irritate them. This was demonstrated by their comments. One member stated that Monument Ave. had no impact on tourism in Richmond. There would be no noticeable effect if all the monuments were gone. One member of the panel commented on his views of Richmond when he moved there in 1982. He did not say where he had moved from, but I wager that it was somewhere North of the Mason-Dixon line. This same panelist proudly stated that 1 in 9 people living in Virginia are from foreign countries. He went on to say that this part of Virginia History is not relevant to them. It sounds like this carpet bagger wants all of us native Virginians to pick up and get out. Does he have any suggestion where we might go? We certainly know where he can go!
Another ridiculous comment was that this issue has nothing to do with race. Are they joking?? Every comment they make is about race. According to them the War was about nothing other than slavery. The monuments were put up in the "Jim Crow Era" to intimidate "African Americans". They also think the only reason we want the monuments to remain is to continue to intimidate and irritate "African Americans". Do they really believe these things? You can be assured that they really do!
The bigotry, hatred, and racism are not coming from us. These thoughts are emotional not based on facts, and that is hard to fight. One place we can fight and win is at the voting booth. Get out and vote! Talk to your neighbors and friends and get them out to vote! Campaign for those who support us! Be at the polls on June 12th!
B. Frank Earnest, Heritage Defense Coordinator, Virginia Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans