Sunday, August 13, 2017

The Post-Charlottesville Reality

My photo of Richmond's Lee Monument (2007).
The Unite the Right movement came to Charlottesville with a mission. Ostensibly, its publicity stunt was to designed to protest the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee on horseback from a public park. However, we can now see the planners' scheme was more ambitious – the movement's leadership wanted to unveil itself as a new player in today's roiling political milieu.

On the Friday night before the alt-right-designed assemblage of white supremacists and their ilk, torch bearing marchers served clear notice of where this new force is coming from in 2017: “Blood and soil,” they chanted, “BLOOD AND SOIL.”

Note: If those words have a scary ring to them, well, they were borrowed from the Nazis. The original Nazis.

In Charlottesville it was a coming out. Neo-Nazis openly strutted along side of flaggers and other staunch defenders of the Lost Cause. Rather than something to keep denying, to keep bothering to hide, apparently they now see their shared hatreds as the very thing to display. On the new amalgamated haters bandwagon that's emerged from the melee in Charlottesville, the Ku Klux Klan is merely one of several franchises.

Let's get real: The new normal in this country simply can't include the acceptance of white supremacists, or white nationalists, as legitimate players. They can't have a seat at the table of honest citizens who want peace, freedom and equal rights for all. Hey, if you're carrying a pole festooned with a Nazi or a Confederate flag you have excluded yourself from society's important discussions.  

Let's get local: I hope the city's leadership is now facing a post-Charlottesville reality. Any hate group's application for a permit to assemble a large group on public property must be treated differently now. This proposed event on Sept. 16, 2017, to be staged by the Virginia Flaggers, won't be the Easter Parade.

So let the amalgamated haters assemble and march up and down Jefferson Davis Highway. Let them convene a big-ass confab at the Richmond Raceway and chant “blood and soil.” Maybe mill around some with torches.

But drop a spoiling-for-a-fight mob onto the intersection of Monument and Allen Avenues ... have them wave flags that symbolize hate at all the lenses focused on them ... throw in lots of firearms ... don't forget the folks who'll show up to hurl insults at the flaggers and their cohorts ... what could go wrong?

Meanwhile, I hope Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Mayor Levar Stoney will soon announce that for public safety reasons no hate groups or bands of terrorists will be allowed to stage a rally anywhere in the Fan District (where I live).

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

What John Moeser said

In the last few years much has been said about what to do in/with Shockoe Bottom. But not much has changed. At least the ballpark idea seems to have dried up and blown away.

Anyway, I like what John Moeser has to say in his RT-D OpEd -- "The case for memorializing the entire Richmond slave district" -- about that important aspect of Richmond's landscape. 
With the soon-to-be completed $48 million redevelopment of Main Street Station into an events center, tourist welcome center, and retail marketplace, which in turn will be connected to a revamped farmer’s market, more pressure will mount to convert remaining property into office and residential development. Our foremost consideration, however, is the preservation of one of our nation’s central places associated with our own American holocaust, namely, the enslavement and slaughter of Native and African Americans...

Still, it seems to me a new farmers market could be situated almost anywhere withing a mile or so of its old location and it would work fine. So, as much as we can, why not free-up the landscape of what was the slave market area, to be devoted to a park (much like Moeser outlines in his piece) and a slavery museum?

At long last, I believe Richmond has an obligation to reveal the whole truth about its slave market days. Following more than a century of willful denial, this city should set about to atone for literally and figuratively covering up evidence of what went on in that neighborhood. So maybe the museum could include active archaeological digs, as well as indoor and other outdoor exhibits.

Moreover, I think that if it's done right the whole shebang would become a worldwide tourist attraction that would be a boon to Richmond's economy.
attraction that would be a boon to Richmond's economy.