So yesterday I wrote about a protest I happened to find myself near. Last night a friend posted this news story describing the event. From the photos, it appears that some people (“dozens”, according to the story) did, in fact, show up. The initial article I read – which has since been edited – only stated that the NAACP was there to protest the statue and ask to have it removed. Nowhere in the original article or its edit was anything mentioned about adding a memorial to the slaves that were sold on the courthouse grounds.
Now I never have worked as a journalist, but I do recall taking a few classes way back in college. It sure seems to me that something pretty important was omitted from that first article.
Nevertheless, I feel that it’s important to acknowledge this, as my post from yesterday could certainly be read as, “the NAACP threw a protest and no one came.” Clearly there were both NAACP people and counter-protesters there, and clearly there was no rioting, looting, or general strife. And I can’t see why anyone would have an issue with a memorial dedicated to the slaves sold on the courthouse grounds. That’s as much a part of our shared history as the Confederacy. It’s a reasonable request.
So with this bit of clarification and correction, I stand by what I wrote yesterday. It sure looked like the original article was sensationalizing what turned out to be a very small, very quick, peaceful, and (mostly) reasonable protest at the Leesburg courthouse.
Then there’s this little nugget in the second article…..
Dozens of demonstrators from the Leesburg area and the D.C. metro region gathered for the NAACP rally. Meanwhile, at the other end of the courthouse grounds, next to the Confederate soldier statue, a much smaller, counter-protest formed. Some protesters were holding the Confederate battle flag.
Leesburg resident Ronald Wingfield said, “I’m here to protect this monument and our heritage.”
NAACP demonstrator Kimberlynn Davis said, “I feel sorry for them actually. They’re still in a time that’s long past them. But they – for whatever reason – can’t seem to move forward like the rest of the country.”
It sure seems to me that if you’re part of a group which wants a piece of history removed, and then wants another monument to history added, you’re identical to the people who don’t want that piece of history removed.
Put simply, read that above quote in the words of someone who was there to support the Confederate monument and referring to the NAACP protesters…..
Loudoun County United Daughters of the Confederacy President Becky Fleming said, “I feel sorry for them actually. They’re still in a time that’s long past them. But they – for whatever reason – can’t seem to move forward like the rest of the country.”
Boy howdy, would that cause a stink.
And this is why I stress that there’s nothing to be gained by attacking people who think differently (and if you’re going to, you’d better make damn sure that your house is in order and your position is unassailable).
As a kid growing up in the 1970s, the term “melting pot” was used to describe our country. We heard it everywhere, and it makes a fair bit of sense. We’re not a homogenous society. We’re bits and pieces from all over the place, and that’s a Good Thing. Our shared history is what makes us who we are, and there’s a fair bit of that history that’s downright ugly.
But it’s lunacy to try to whitewash away that ugliness. You know, “those who forget history are doomed to blah, blah, blah…”
At any rate, I’m glad to see that the protest yesterday was uneventful, no matter how badly the media and some people would have liked it to be otherwise.