Statues, Black lives matter, mobs, and patriotism

It wasn't a mistake to pull down the statue of Ulysses S Grant ...

It often gets my blood flowing, and my mind thinking, when I read opinions and analyses I disagree with. Often I disagree with my friend Jack Marshall, whose blog, EthicsAlarms.com, I’ve learned a lot from.

I eagerly look for columns of his where I could say, “Perfect. I wouldn’t change a word.” His piece today about mobs, statues, Black lives matter, and patriotism comes pretty close. If you’re a liberal like me look it over here.

It won’t hurt you.

Like Jack, I’m against all mob actions, in fact against all mobs, period. But two reservations about this column:

1. I believe “Black lives matter” is a slogan, value, cause, movement. To me it’s a reminder that in our society black lives are often, by some people, some government officials, treated as not mattering as much as white. So I’m happy to give people who write, talk, or march peaceably in protest, my ear. I believe, however, the movement is often invaded by criminals and anarchists, and the unorganized movement has no organized way to stop them. But this doesn’t invalidate the cause.

2. I abhor all mobs, and to the point, all the tearing down of statues. I also agree about the historical value of many statues (Grant, Key, etc). I do know, however, that some statues are (small?) humiliations to many people. Think about a Black in Nashville having to walk by a statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest twice a day.

What to do? It’s not up to any mob, not even to BLM believers. In our still-democratic system it’s up to the local authorities. I hope they follow the example set by the Memphis City council, who voted three years ago to remove their Bedford statue.

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