This Too Shall Pass Author: BobRDate:2017-08-30 12:00:00
The reaction to the current trend toward removing statues honoring confederate generals and other soldiers is not unexpected. There's a certain mindset that gets passed down from generation to generation, and - to some extent - taught in classrooms. Some southerners refer to the Civil War as The War of Northern Aggression. They look to the past with wistful eyes of times gone by when plantation owners and their "workers" did what was common at the time.
But of course - the truth is harsher and shines a light on the reality of the times. "Heritage" and "States' Rights" boil down to white people owning black people. There's just no denying it. The southern slave states didn't want to give up the free labor - their economy depended on it. And so - they took up arms against the U.S. government and the U.S. military.
If it seems like we're going through a rough period right now as the reality begins to set in that these monuments are going to come down - you'd be correct. It's always painful when someone has to change something they've taken for granted and assumed as a birthright. We've been through this before in our own lifetimes.
In the sixties, we had the Civil Rights era. Whites were so used to having their own restaurants and bus seats and theatre sections and restrooms and water fountains and schools... They knew their stuff was better than what the black folk had, and didn't want to share - didn't want to mingle with those they thought were less than them. But - the laws got passed, and there was a rough patch. Nonetheless, in short order, it became the norm. Now - no one thinks twice about it (except the small pockets of white supremacists that still dot the social landscape like acne).
In the seventies, we had "Women's Lib". Women wanted a seat at the upper management table. They were just as smart as the men, and wanted the opportunities and the pay. There were marches and protests, and women burned their bras. It seems so antiquated now, but at the time there was a mix of trepidation and anger and amusement by the old white men at the top.
In the eighties, we had the AIDS epidemic. Gay men were dying horrible deaths from a strange disease, and the public at large was scared. Could I get it if I'm not gay? A diagnosis was a death sentence. Since it was considered a "gay disease", it wasn't taken seriously. Then - Rock Hudson and children got it from blood transfusions, and suddenly it became real. Nowadays, there isn't a stigma about it, and we treat the disease and those with HIV like we would any other.
Over the last 15 years, gay marriage was topic that caused a lot of angst and anger. Politicians and religious leaders predicted doom and destruction. States passed laws specifically prohibiting gay marriage. There were marches and demonstrations at the Supreme Court. Then suddenly, one case fell in federal court... and then another... and then - the "equal protection" guaranteed in the Constitution came down and declared that gay marriage must be legal in every state. Here it is just a few years later, and no one blinks an eye.
In fact - interracial couples and gay couples aren't even interesting anymore. They're just part of the landscape. Sure there are the haters and the holdouts, but they are now considered to be the outliers and the aberrations.
As to the confederate monuments - this too shall pass. Their removal in confluence with ascendancy of the tRump regime has given inspiration to the various deplorables clinging to their guns and a bygone era. As the monuments disappear, and as tRump's moments in the White House dwindle and fizzle away, so to will the uproar that has erupted around these removals.
In just a few years hence, it will be difficult to fathom what all the hubbub was about.