[Vision2020] Robert E. Lee not so bad?
mghuskey at msn.com
Sun Aug 29 15:43:05 PDT 2004
"Suffice it to say that not everyone who was at the meeting is in agreement with the uproar about the use of Lee. Ms White only heard from one person who knew just who to call to get a lot of public
outcry just down the party line they wanted. But, I am hearing on this site now and other places that not everyone at the meeting felt the same way. So, once again Ms's White and Pall and some one Venon 2020 create a atmosphere of distrust and hate without all the information."
Well, I've seen the handout which accompanied the presentation, and which includes all of the Powerpoint slides, and I have to say it's pretty inflammatory, from my point of view. The Confederate flag decorates several pages, there's a particularly offensive reference to Lee's views on slavery, the language throughout is markedly sexist, and there's absolutely no mention of the book from which at least some of the material was taken verbatim.
If Pat is right, and the majority of the Board of the Chamber found this presentation inoffensive, I'm profoundly disturbed. They are clearly out of step not only with me, but with most of our community. I can't believe that most business owners in our town want to be represented by a body which affirms neo-Confederate ideology--but maybe I'm wrong. If so, I want to know about it.
This choice is more than an error in judgement: the choice of a pro-slavery Confederate general as a model of leadership for the Moscow business community is a slap in the face to anyone who took issue with *Southern Slavery as It Was.* I'm shocked that local businesspeople, including representatives of the University, and of our city and county government, sat through a presentation praising a Confederate general and his justification of slaveholding without a single demur. I'm appalled that the Chamber Board has been silent in the subsequent brouhaha, except to say that Paul is a nice man.
Dan isn't worried about slave auctions in Friendship Square, and I'm not either. But few totalitarian movements begin by seizing power in an instant--they prepare the ground first by making baby steps toward oppression Just like an abusive relationship, it starts with a little shove or a pinch, and a sweet apology--"I'm sorry, sweetheart, you know I'm not really like that." Over time, the violence escalates.
Three years ago, I was pretty concerned about the homophobic language Paul Kimmell used to explain why he was opposed to domestic partner benefits for county employees. Later, I was disturbed by the sexism and religious intolerance of our public conversation about the nudity ordinance. Obviously that was just the thin end of the wedge if we're now needing to disagree publicly over whether or not the Confederacy yields important moral lessons for local business owners and Idaho high school students with entrepreneurial interests.
We need to take stock here. Our community deserves better--as a variety of people have observed. But I think we may be starting at the wrong end Is it "nice" to use your power or influence to benefit your own co-religionists at the expense of others in the community? Is it "nice" to make a presentation likely to hurt or embarass members of the organization you represent? Is it "nice" to accuse others of hating you and your faith community or of having no morals when they ask for accountability in your performance of public office?
Nice just isn't the yardstick we need.
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