By Joe Rector
Well, I’m sure of it. We’ve lost our minds and our ability to use common sense. If anyone doesn’t believe it, just look at what is going on in our country. We don’t need to act so fast sometimes. Knee-jerk reactions never help situations.
In Charlottesville, Virginia, groups go after each other during protests. That’s not so different from years past. However, several things involved in it are what leave most of us scratching our heads and uttering “Huh?” For one, what in the world are we doing when we allow Neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other racists to march in the streets? Yes, citizens have the right to free speech, but when groups take advantage of that right with the intention of causing friction, we have to use some common sense in passing out permits to them. These very groups are ones against which our country has already waged wars. They lost but seem hell bent on reviving and going for round two. The very mention of “Nazis” and “KKK,” and “racists” sickens me. Those words and groups associated with them should have no places in our country.
All of a sudden, it seems, the removal of statues from cities around the country has become a priority. Many of them have been in place for as long as a century, but for some reason, they now are eyesores. I do realize that many of the monuments in the South memorialize Confederate generals and political figures. Yes, I also know that the war waged by the South to continue slavery was especially despicable because it shed blood because the mistreatment of an entire race of folks. However, removing a few statues and memorials won’t change what happened. In fact, the leaving of those things should be a constant reminder of man’s inhumanity to man; their existence should keep us from ever again allowing slavery to exist.
In Memphis, the yearly showing of “Gone with the Wind” has ended. According to news accounts, The Orpheum Theater decided to end a 34-year tradition of showing the film because it offended some viewers with “its racist content.” A big “DUH” goes out to those who complained. The movie has contained the same material since its premier. It is set during the Civil War in the South. Of course it has racist material. However, far beyond that, “Gone with the Wind” is a classic movie that presents the struggles of a woman who has been displaced by the war and who watches her entire life and culture destroyed as the Union sweeps across the Confederacy and eradicates slavery. That’s the beauty of the movie: it disparages those who were misguided and puts to shame mistaken lifestyles of slaveholders and Southern sympathizers.
I never want anyone to feel oppressed because of the color of his skin. Shame on every person who espouses such disgusting ideas. At the same time, it is important to keep in mind, in some form or fashion, the South that held people in chains and treated them no better than livestock. The old saying, “Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it” applies in this situation. One question I ask is how many folks have ever given a second thought to the monument at Fort Sanders? Another is do folks know that “Gone with the Wind” was responsible for a Hattie McDaniel receiving the first Academy Award given to a black actress? It seems that something good can come from something bad on occasion. A little more insight into things might just prevent violence, hatred, and destruction.