Continuing our chronicling of the retreat of confederate heritage in the face of popular disgust with its lies and racism, we begin with this story from Wilmington, North Carolina.
“Curfews surround Confederate statues in one North Carolina city. Wilmington officials on Saturday announced a five-night ban on some pedestrian activity near two statues in its downtown area, according to a Facebook post. ‘This is to prevent incidents in the vicinity of the monuments,’ the post said. The announcement comes amid renewed debate about the future of Confederate statues across the South. While some contend the monuments recognize Civil War history, others argue they are symbols of white supremacy that should be taken down.” The article continues, “In Wilmington, protests mostly have been peaceful, and there wasn’t an immediate threat of vandalism when the curfew was issued, the Wilmington Star News reported. Last week, two people faced charges after a swastika and the letters BLM, a common abbreviation for Black Lives Matter, were found on a Confederate memorial near Third and Dock streets, the newspaper reported. More recently, ‘there was some kind of group that came near one of the monuments near Third and Market and chanted about taking them down (Saturday) afternoon, but they never did anything,’ city spokesperson Linda Thompson told the Star News. Now, Wilmington has a curfew that lasts from 7:30 p.m. to 7 a.m. through June 24, unless officials say otherwise. The order allows people to use sidewalks but limits other movements, the city wrote on Facebook. The curfew prohibits pedestrians from going into the street and median of Market Street between Third and Fifth streets. The area is home to a statue of George Davis, who served as a senator and attorney general for the Confederacy, according to the UNC University Library. The curfew also prevents people from walking onto the median of Third Street ‘between Market and Orange Streets,’ the city says. That’s near the Wilmington Confederate Monument, which honors local soldiers who fought for the Confederacy, according to the UNC University Library. Amid recent calls for change, the Historic Wilmington Foundation earlier this month said it supported the removal of the two monuments, which were erected decades after the Civil War, WECT reported. ‘It is HWF’s hope that the monuments will be relocated to a location where they may be preserved, interpreted, contextualized, and used expressly for educational purposes, rather than to continue to serve as visual public reminders of racial injustice,’ executive director Beth Rutledge told media outlets.”
This article from Atlanta, Georgia, tells us, “The descendants of former Gov. John B. Gordon delivered an unequivocal message for the current occupant of that office: Remove the bronze statue of him, sitting in full Confederate regalia, from the grounds of the Georgia Capitol. In a letter sent to Gov. Brian Kemp over the weekend, the 44 relatives of Gordon wrote that the ‘primary purpose of the statue was to celebrate and mythologize the white supremacists of the Confederacy’ and called for it to be disappeared. ‘The continuing presence of this statue on public property serves to negate and undermine the past and ongoing struggle of Georgians to overcome and reverse the legacy of slavery and oppression of black Americans,’ they wrote. Groups of protesters have gathered outside the Gold Dome demanding the statue’s removal since George Floyd’s death ignited rallies for racial equality across the nation. Unveiled in 1907, the statue is one of the most controversial monuments to the Old South on the Capitol grounds. Aside from being a Confederate war commander, Gordon is generally acknowledged as being a leader of the Ku Klux Klan in Georgia. And even when state officials in 2013 relocated a statue of another white supremacist leader from Georgia’s past – a fist-pumping mold of Tom Watson – Gordon and other Confederate icons were left intact. Back then, state officials had more leeway to move controversial statues. But under a law signed by Kemp last year, Confederate markers can only be moved to a ‘site of similar prominence‘ — which means retiring Gordon’s image to an out-of-the-way park is likely out of the question. But the removal of a Confederate monument in Decatur last week — the civil government equivalent of a midnight lightning strike — showed a potential path. DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond made the decision to dismantle the monument in a window of time created by Superior Court Judge Clarence Seeliger, who had ruled that the 30-foot obelisk had become a public nuisance and allowed Thurmond to circumvent the 2019 law. Sheffield Hale is president and CEO of the Atlanta History Center. Over the last several years, Hale has been a significant mediator in debates over what to do with Confederate monuments in Georgia and the rest of the South. In some instances, he has argued, simply adding the proper historical context to a monument can suffice. But in some cases Hale says a community must have the option of removing an edifice. And in an AJC op-ed that appeared over the weekend, Hale argued that legislative protection of Confederate monuments may actually have the effect of hastening their removal: ‘The table was reset for conflict in 2019. That year, the Georgia legislature passed a strengthened monument protection law prohibiting local Georgia residents from determining what version of the past is represented in their own public spaces. Ironically, as we now see, these laws ultimately will accelerate the removal of monuments by creating more vitriol, less dialogue, and a lack of democratic options. Though supporters claim that the legislation protects history, this law effectively reanimates the original purpose of monuments by a state sanction. Monuments are made untouchable and unchangeable, elevating them to objects of veneration and political symbols honoring Lost Cause mythology. … Georgia’s monument protection law … undermines the process of community engagement. The law eliminates the possibility of democratic consensus-building by permanently erasing an option, creating a false choice, animosity, and lack of trust from the outset. How can communities have productive conversations knowing that deciding to remove monuments, even after thoughtful engagement, is not legally possible?‘ ”
We have this story from the Cherokee Nation. “The Cherokee Nation has removed two Confederate monuments from its Capitol Square that were erected nearly a century ago by the Daughters of the Confederacy. A crane removed the monuments from the nation’s tribal headquarters in Tahlequah on Saturday as Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. watched. ‘It’s difficult to tell our story when we have non-Indian-driven monuments talking about the Confederacy, when they greet people as they come into our Cherokee Nation museum,’ Hoskin said in a statement. ‘It was time for a change.’ The monuments included a fountain memorializing confederate soldiers and Gen. Stand Watie that was dedicated in 1913 and a granite monument honoring Watie dedicated in 1921. The tribe notes on its website that the Civil War created division among it’s citizens with about one-third of the men joining the confederacy and then Principal Chief John Ross later agreeing to support the Confederacy after Union troops left a nearby fort. The capitol square houses the original Cherokee Nation courthouse, which has been converted into a Cherokee history museum. Watie’s name was removed from an Oklahoma City elementary school in 2017 in the wake of violent white supremacist protests over the removal of a Confederate statue in Charlottesville, Virginia.”
Next we look at this story out of Tennessee discussing the confederate monument even neoconfederates should want to bring down. “Nestled on a private grass verge along Interstate-65, just south of Nashville, there’s a 25-foot Confederate tribute, which someone generous might call a statue and others might call so transcendently stupid and ugly it disproves white supremacy. It is both silver and gold and topped with a layer of pink paint. The figure resembles an extra-large novelty nutcracker frozen in carbonite, mouth open Han Solo-style, perched on a horse and left to leer at passing DHL trucks into eternity. It is called the Nathan Bedford Forrest Equestrian Statue. Nathan Bedford Forrest, a Confederate general, slave trader, and unambiguous war criminal, numbers among the most violent and hateful losers of the Civil War. If Robert E. Lee represented the pseudo-stately face of the slave-owning South, Forrest was its shrieking id, a guy The New York Times described in his obituary as ‘guerrilla-like in his methods of warfare… notoriously bloodthirsty and revengeful.’ Forrest massacred dozens of black Union soldiers after surrounding Fort Pillow near Memphis in 1864, became the first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan in 1867, and was rewarded with monuments across the state of Tennessee for decades after. There is a bust of his head sitting in the State Capitol building—one which protesters have called to remove, and Republicans are now rallying to protect. A statue of Forrest stood in Memphis from 1904 until 2017, when it was sold to a private buyer for $1,000. Last year, Tennessee’s Republican Governor Bill Lee declared July 13th ‘Nathan Bedford Forrest Day,’ a gesture so controversial that even Ted Cruz condemned it. But of all the tributes to Forrest, few capture the hideousness of his legacy quite like the fiberglass monstrosity looming over I-65.”
The article also says, “It was personally customized, perfected in its eye-gouging mediocrity by an amateur sculptor named John Karl Kershaw, who went by Jack. In the late-1990s, when Kershaw was 84, he called a Nashville man named Bill Dorris, who owns the 3.5-acre plot where the statue sits, to ask about his land. ‘Jack was one of my grandmother and grandfather’s neighbors,’ Dorris said on a phone call with The Daily Beast. ‘He was an artist here in town and he had wanted a place to put this statue and I gave it to him.’ Kershaw was an artist in the way George W. Bush is a painter; it wasn’t his day job or what he was best known for. He was also very bad at it. He was associated with a crowd of Southern writers at Vanderbilt University, known as the Fugitive Poets (a faction of whom went on to form the Agrarians, which had a very rosy vision of Southern history—they all but ignored slavery). Kershaw never found the same acclaim as some of his peers, like poets Robert Penn Warren and Allen Tate. Beyond the Forrest statue, the only known remnants of his artistic career include a large painting of his wife and an equally massive Joan of Arc statue, also modeled on his wife. The bulk of Kershaw’s professional prominence came after he attended the Nashville YMCA Night Law School, became a lawyer, and defended Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassin, James Earl Ray. In the early 1970s, after Ray pleaded guilty to murder and received a 99-year prison sentence, he recanted his confession. In subsequent appeals and an appearance before the U.S. House of Representatives’ Select Committee on Assassinations, Kershaw claimed Ray had been roped into a shady conspiracy spearheaded by an unknown outsider named ‘Raul.’ Kershaw went to great lengths to prove Ray’s innocence. He pushed for the declassification of related CIA files (unsuccessfully) and demanded further ballistics tests on the murder weapon (the results were inconclusive). When Ray escaped from prison with five other inmates in 1977, he claimed they had outside help, pointing to conspiracy. But after Kershaw secretly accepted money from Playboy to arrange an interview and polygraph test with Ray, from which the magazine concluded he was soundly guilty, the two split ways. After losing his highest-profile client, Kershaw continued his non-artistic pursuits by forming the League of the South in 1994, an organization the Southern Poverty Law Center has listed as a hate group since the millennium. According to the SPLC, the coalition of 40 ‘intellectuals,’ whatever that means, promoted ideas like ‘a second Southern secession, defense of slavery and opposition to interracial marriage to preserve the ‘integrity’ of black and white people.’ This was just a few years before Kershaw approached Dorris about his land. Dorris, who calls the Civil War the ‘War of Northern Aggression,’ insists the aspiring sculptor harbored no racial resentment. ‘Jack was not a racist,’ he said. ‘Jack was a historian. Jack was not a racist.’ Kershaw himself phrased it differently. He once told the Times-Picayune, ‘Somebody needs to say a good word for slavery.’ ” As we know, there are no good words for slavery.
The article continues, “As if an homage to his own annihilating lack of subtlety, Kershaw carved the polyurethane statue with a butcher knife. He scaled the statue on a small model, but quickly lost sight of proportions after blowing it up so large he had to use a ‘cherry picker’ to reach the top sections. The result is Forrest’s terrifying maw, which Kershaw claimed was shouting ‘Follow me!’ but looks more like Shrek’s Lord Farquaad seconds before he was swallowed. The Sons of Confederate Veterans chapter that commissioned the statue appears to disagree. ‘The horse and rider,’ they wrote on their website, ‘are ‘perfectly’ balanced.’ When they unveiled the thing on July 11, 1998, alongside 10 different reenactment groups larping as Confederate soldiers and hundreds of other descendants singing ‘Dixie,’ they called it ‘one of the camp’s most ambitious projects.’ Courtesy of Dorris, the statue sits alongside 13 battle flags, 13 Confederate flags, and has, at various times, sported homemade signs, all in the spirit of the statue’s incoherent and self-immolating racism. According to local blogger Brent Moore, in the statue’s first years, a sign read ‘Welcome to Nashville: Future home of the ex-Tennessee Oilers,’ implying that the NFL team’s owner, Bud Adams, would sell the team to another city if he got the right deal. That proved inaccurate, though the team did change its name to the Tennessee Titans, in a bid to align the team closer with Nashville’s values. As far as Dorris was concerned, it did: ‘The Titans are a good name. Because in the KKK, the Titans are the most vicious of the group… the worst of the worst in the pecking order of who was in charge of what, within the KKK.’ (The Titans have only played in the Super Bowl once; they lost). The vast majority of Nashvillians are not as cavalier as Dorris. Over the years, several vandals and public officials have made their views on Kershaw’s piece clear. In 2002, according to Moore, someone shot at Forrest—missing the man, but striking his horse. The statue has since been shot five more times, Dorris said. In 2017, Nashville’s Metro Council requested the Tennessee Department of Transportation plant hedges along the highway to obstruct the statue. The state rejected it, but later that year, Dorris woke to find Forrest had been covered in a coat of bright pink paint. He decided to leave it up, arguing the sunlight had turned it red. (Looks pretty pink to me). Over the years, several writers have argued that the Forrest statue, which, looks like someone gave Toy Story’s Sid a bigger budget, represents a more honest approach to Confederate monuments. ‘Forrest should look this ugly, this preposterous, in our remembrances,’ wrote Connor Towne O’Neill in New York. In Atlas Obscura, Aaron Netsky described it as ‘a rare example of a Confederate monument that, rather than being sculpted with dignity and grace, accurately reflects the ugliness of its subject.’ But as we revisit Confederate monuments in the context of police brutality, a phenomenon with a direct lineage to the institution Forrest fought to protect, the statue also symbolizes something much bigger. It’s an emblem of American obsession with violent state actors—how it uplifts them, clings to them, and normalizes new crimes, long after we’ve seen how ugly they really are.”
This article gives us a little more background history for the Richmond, Virginia Lee monument. “The planning for Robert E. Lee’s monument started just hours after he died in October 1870, but it took 20 years to come to fruition. And with two different fundraising groups arguing over the design and location, the state took over the project. The state still owns the monument today. In 1887, the Commonwealth decided to put the Lee statue in a field outside the western boundary of the city. And on May 29, 1890, it was unveiled to a crowd of around 150,000 – more than the city’s population at the time. It was the largest gathering in Richmond since the inauguration of Confederate President Jefferson Davis in 1862. As the largest statue on Monument Avenue, Lee rises out of the ground with a 40-foot granite pedestal topped with a 12 ton, 21-foot high bronze statue of the confederate general.”
Speaking of Lee, this article gives us information about West Point’ “Robert E. Lee Problem.” It tells us, ” ‘In spite of the sight of the Stars and Bars flying from the radio masts of occasional automobiles coming out of Dixie, few fair-minded men can feel today that the issues which divided the North and South in 1861 have any real meaning to our present generation.’ Those were the words spoken by famous World War II general Maxwell Taylor in 1952, at the dedication of Gen. Robert E. Lee’s portrait in the West Point library. This portrait has since become the topic of controversy from many who question the reverence for Lee at West Point in the form of a barracks, a gate, multiple paintings, and even a mathematics award. Articles exploring this veneration and petitions calling for the removal of displays of Lee at West Point often fall short in addressing exactly how the Confederate leader became ingrained in academy culture. Lee’s return to a place of honor at West Point occurred as a result of a reconciliation process that downplayed the Confederacy’s treason as the primary transgression for which southern officers required forgiveness, papered over the issue of slavery, and ignored the underrepresented black officers of the US Army. The reverence shown, though, is no longer unchallenged by the diverse, twenty-first-century officer corps, and as a result, West Point now faces a decision: What should it do with displays of Lee’s person and his name? And more broadly, what place should this controversial figure—and former academy superintendent—occupy at the academy? At the turn of the twentieth century, the institutional narrative at West Point about the Union cause was still focused on two major points: the preservation of the Union in the face of secession and the freedom of slaves. During this period, two construction projects at West Point memorialized the Civil War—the Battle Monument, a towering column at Trophy Point that was completed in 1897, and Cullum Hall, a building completed in 1900.”
The article continues, “The Battle Monument was erected to memorialize all Union Army regulars who were killed during the Civil War. According to its official history published in 1898, the monument commemorates the souls who ‘freed a race and welded a nation.’ Supreme Court Justice David Brewer, who spoke at the dedication ceremony, likewise described these two causes as the primary reasons that the Union’s struggle should be remembered by cadets. The monument itself still contains an inscription on its shaft calling the Civil War the ‘War of Rebellion’ to bring attention to the treasonous actions of the Confederacy. Cullum Hall, where Lee’s name first started to appear after the Civil War, was completed to serve as a memorial hall for West Point graduates who distinguished themselves in the military profession. The building’s deceased benefactor and Union veteran, Maj. Gen. George Cullum, left the funds for its construction in his will, and the decision as to who was worthy of memorialization in the building would be subject to a vote of West Point’s academic board. Robert E. Lee’s name was placed in this building on a bronze plaque that named the past superintendents of the academy and the years they served in the role. The decision to include Lee’s name seems to have little to do with his leadership of the Confederate Army, but was treated as a matter of historical record.”
The article then gets into how the insidious lost cause lie was infiltrated into West Point. “Only two years later in 1902, dozens of both Confederate and Union West Point graduates attended the one hundredth anniversary celebrations of the academy’s founding. The festivities included a speech by Brig. Gen. Edward P. Alexander, a highly influential Confederate officer who used the spotlight to catalyze the reconciliation process between white Union and Confederate graduates. Alexander’s address was steeped in ‘Lost Cause’ rhetoric that glorified the right of states to secede. In the spirit of reconciliation however, Alexander admitted that ‘it was best for the South that the cause was lost,’ since he viewed the strength of United States in 1902 as rivaling that of other major world powers. Finally, Alexander spoke directly of the pride ‘heroes of future wars’ would feel toward the accomplishments of Confederate graduates, predicting those heroes would ’emulate our Lees and Jacksons.’ Notably, Alexander mentioned nothing of the institution of slavery, which the Confederacy fought to defend and Union graduates died to erase. From that period forward, the narrative at West Point regarding its Confederate graduates markedly changed. Taking Alexander’s stirring words to heart, the Corps of Cadets began to forgive Confederate graduates for seceding and glorified their military accomplishments. Talk of slavery became rare—much like black membership in the Corps of Cadets during the first half of the twentieth century—and relics of Robert E. Lee appeared slowly at the academy with the support of southern interest groups. In 1930, the United Daughters of the Confederacy—known for its financing of Confederate memorials in the early 1900s and pushing the ‘Lost Cause’ narrative—reached out to West Point officials offering to donate a portrait of Robert E. Lee to be displayed in the Mess Hall next to portraits of other West Point superintendents. The organization hoped to feature Lee in his gray Confederate uniform, but the academy, perhaps still wary of Lee’s treasonous legacy, requested that the portrait feature Lee in the blue US Army uniform he donned as superintendent. That version of the portrait is still on display in the Mess Hall in an unremarkable fashion next to the portraits of every West Point superintendent. The following year, the United Daughters of the Confederacy made another offer to West Point, this time to sponsor a mathematics award dedicated to Lee, who was known for his mathematical acumen as a cadet. This memorial award was sanctioned by the academy and is still given today to cadets in the form of a saber, but it should be noted that the academy has removed the fact that the award was originally sponsored by the United Daughters of the Confederacy from some of its modern award pamphlets. Meanwhile, as the United Daughters of the Confederacy slipped Lee back into the academy’s memory and the white officer corps reconciled old differences, African-American cadets were subjugated to harsh and unfair treatment by academy officials and fellow white cadets. The best example is Gen. Benjamin O. Davis, Jr.—the academy’s fourth black graduate in the seven decades after slavery ended—who is the namesake of the academy’s newest barracks construction. In the 1930s he was given a solo room assignment and no other cadets would speak to him during his entire four years as a cadet (an act known as “silencing” typically used against cadets who were considered dishonorable). Davis graduated in the top 15 percent of the Class of 1936, but was denied entry into the Army Air Corps to maintain segregation policies. Davis continued to be silenced by several classmates and other officers for years after commissioning. For decades, Davis’s classmates and West Point leadership denied publicly that Davis was silenced, while several others wrote him letters of apology in private. His experience stands in stark contrast to that of white cadets who pushed forward with reconciliation in the same era as the institutional memory of Confederate leaders grew more positive.”
We then learn more about how Lee was slipped into West Point’s pantheon. “Robert E. Lee’s validation as a revered figure in West Point lore was cemented on the one hundredth anniversary of his selection as superintendent and during the 150th anniversary celebration of West Point’s founding. On January 19, 1952, a massive portrait of Robert E. Lee—in full Confederate gray uniform, with a slave guiding his horse behind him—was donated to the West Point library. The portrait’s unveiling was the occasion when Gen. Maxwell Taylor claimed that ‘few fair-minded men can feel today that the issues which divided the North and South in 1861 have any real meaning to our present generation.’ He spoke these words only a month after the Army decided to pursue full desegregation and three years before both Emmett Till’s murder and Rosa Parks’s arrest. Desegregation nationwide still had far to go in 1952. This willful ignorance of the black experience in American history—including in American military history—was critical to the lionization of Confederate heroes and reconciliation with white southern officers. Without it, cadets and officers alike would be forced to grapple with the fact that men like Robert E. Lee betrayed their country for the right to continue owning and subjugating an entire race of people they thought inferior. Retired Gen. David Petraeus, a West Point graduate, recently described his alma mater’s problematic association with Lee, including a barracks built, he notes, in the 1960s. While it’s true the barracks in question was completed in 1962, at the height of the civil rights movement, it was initially named ‘New South Barracks.’ It was not named in honor of Lee until 1970, when several buildings at the academy received the names of past graduates. Lee Gate received its name in the late 1940s, when the names of all entrances to the post were changed. In broad historical context, the how, when, and why of the naming convention for Lee Barracks or Lee Gate is relatively benign in comparison to the dedication of Lee’s portrait to the West Point library. An entire committee of powerful southern financiers was dedicated to bringing back Lee’s likeness as a Confederate champion in 1952. By the time Lee Barracks was named, the view of the Civil War at West Point had already undergone a complete metamorphosis.”
After giving a prescription of what to do about West Point’s “Lee Problem,” the article concludes, “Some argue that removing such symbols is tantamount to erasing history and calls for founders like George Washington to be ‘canceled.’ We categorically reject this straw-man argument. Robert E. Lee was not just a racist and a slave owner. He chose to betray his country in the defense of his right to subjugate the black race, which now comprises a significant portion of the Army and officer corps. The leadership who saw fit to prop up Robert E. Lee as a revered figure in 1952 did so by accepting a comfortable, watered-down, and cherry-picked revisionist history. Today, history classes at the academy fully embrace the correct notion that preserving the nation’s unity and ending slavery were the defining features of the Union cause, and cadets learn about both the military skill and ideological wrongdoings of Lee and his Confederate comrades. Cadets also learn about hundreds of West Point graduates whose accomplishments are worthy of honor, respect, and reverence. Although they learn about Lee, he is not one of those deserving of such reverence by the future officer corps. West Point seeks to educate, train, and inspire future leaders in the US Army. The Corps of Cadets is the most diverse in the school’s history and West Point needs to ensure cadets can continue to be inspired by graduates the academy sought to elevate in a bygone era. The school has so far avoided this question of Robert E. Lee, looking to the US Army for guidance. But as West Point tells many of its growing leaders, there is nothing wrong with offering a recommendation to one’s superiors. The school has a responsibility to its cadets, and we hope West Point will do what it expects of its graduates—lead.”
This essay tells us about the confederate monument in Athens, Georgia. “On Sunday, May 31, 2020 protestors gathered at a Black Lives Matter protest around the so-called Athens Monument, a monument to the Confederate dead that has been a flashpoint in Athens, Georgia for decades. The protest was organized by city commissioner Mariah Parker, and the protest included the Athens Anti-Discrimination Movement, Athens for Everyone and other local organizations. Among the issues raised were continued police violence in the city. They pointed out that six people in Athens had been shot by police in 2019. At around midnight that Sunday, shortly after National Guardsmen left the scene, the Athens city police used teargas to disperse the crowd, then fired rubber bullets at protesters who were standing near the canisters, allegedly to prevent them from throwing them back. Graffiti later scratched on the monument–including ACAB, short for All Cops Are Bastards–suggest that the monument was part of the problem.”
We next learn about the monument: “Finished and dedicated in June of 1872, the Athens monument was one of the first monuments to the Confederate dead, but it was much more than that. Knowa Johnson of the Athens Anti Discrimination movement had asked me to attend a radio show in 2017 to discuss the monument. Doing my due diligence I read some background material about the monument. Then I read some more. Because the Athens Monument was not just a monument to the Confederate dead, it was also a monument to the Klan. It was commissioned during Congressional Reconstruction, when the South was divided into military districts. The US Congress required that African-Americans be allowed to vote in state elections, a move that former Confederates Benjamin Hill and Howell Cobb attacked. In a series of public speeches in July of 1868 called the Bush arbor speeches, Benjamin Hill and Howell Cobb forcefully criticized the newly-written Georgia constitution which required that black people be allowed to vote. These fiery speeches used the language of blood and soil, much like those we heard in Charlottesville in 2017. Hill and Cobb argued that Georgia’s Assembly was a ‘band of foreigners’ and that men should take up arms against black voters. More to the point, these Bush arbor speeches marked the first public appearance of Georgia’s Ku Klux Klan. In Athens, Atlanta, and throughout the upcountry it led to secret orders being formed that harassed and intimidated black voters. Klansmen declared that they were the ghosts of the Confederate dead, who still wore the burial shrouds of fallen soldiers – that’s the reason for the white robes. The Klan said they were, quoting Hebrews 12:23, ‘the spirits of just men made perfect.’ They killed Black politicians and scared away white ones. Klansmen argued that Black men and women would be so frightened to see these ghosts of the Confederacy that they would not push to either vote in elections or try to attend classes at the University of Georgia in Athens, which, according to contemporary newspaper reports, Black men and women apparently tried to do in the same year. In the same year, in 1868, Benjamin Hill, Howell Cobb, and Cobb’s sister Margaret Rutherford gathered to organize a memorial to the Confederate dead in downtown Athens. Margaret Rutherford became the front person for this effort through an organization she called the Ladies Memorial Association. The monument would use the same language as Cobb, Hill and other originators of the Klan in Georgia. One can read from the monument ‘these heroes, ours in the unity of blood…struggled for the rights of states.’ On the other side it says ‘Bright angels come and guard our sleeping heroes.’ Who were the angels come to guard these sleeping heroes?: The Klan, whose leaders Ben Hill and Howell Cobb were the principal supporters of the Athens monument. Confederate Veteran Alexander S. Erwin made the connection between Klan and monument clear in a speech he gave when the monument was finished in July of 1872. He urged that his contemporaries should take the ghosts of the Confederacy seriously. ‘It is said by some that spirits of the dead come back to the earth’ Erwin joked at the beginning of the dedication, and he was, he continued, ‘not prepared to deny’ this. He made it clear that the monument had a political message against black voting, saying, ‘no defeat, no misfortune, no tyrant, no President, no Congress, no fanatical party, no mad majority…can ever dim the luster of their names.’ Further he argued that the South would rise again ‘in spite of oppression the most tyrannical and malignant; in spite of robbery the most flagrant and atrocious…in spite of the treachery and betrayal of once trusted friends and cherished children’ [a reference to the previously enslaved] ‘they [former slave masters] have exhibited a recuperative energy and power unparalleled in history…true to the memories of their dead heroes.’ ”
The essay continues, “The Athens monument, just like the Nazi monuments in Berlin that were taken down in the 1950s and the Soviet monuments in Eastern Europe taken down in the 2000s were supposedly monuments to the dead but were in fact monuments to politics, to who rules now and who must bow down before those in power. By July of 1872 white Athenians of the planter class had driven black voters away by fraud and intimidation. Reconstruction was over, the Klan was disbanded, the monument was up. And it has stayed up ever since. By 1872, when the monument was finished, it was designed as a beacon to recognize the Confederacy but also a gathering post for Klansmen, the self-proclaimed angels and ghosts of the Confederacy, who had restored power to the planter class in Georgia. The second Klan, when it emerged in the 1920s, used this beacon as a gathering point before they went off to attack and murder black men and women. In the 1960s it was also a beacon and gathering point for attacks on black men and women who argued for voting rights and public accommodations and access to the University of Georgia campus.”
The essay concludes, “Should the town’s monument to white supremacy remain in the city center or be moved to Oconee Cemetery where it will be safe from vandalism? Right now it stands as an insult to Athens’ real heroes, the Black and white men who fought for the Union against the rebellion to protect slavery, the Black men and women who tried to join the class of 1868 on the grounds of UGA, only to be driven away by police and dogs. The monument also insults the heroes, Black and white, men and women, who fought against the Klan as the Klan gathered under its shadow in the their first, second, and third incarnations. Perhaps now it can go away.”
In this article, we learn every historian at the University of Mississippi opposes the university’s plan to renovate the confederate cemetery. “We, the undersigned American historians working at the University of Mississippi, strongly oppose the recently released plans to renovate and add headstones to the Civil War cemetery on campus as part of the relocation of the Confederate monument. Ideally, we believe this monument should be removed from campus entirely, given its explicitly white supremacist origins. But if it remains on campus, it should not be glorified and the university should make it clear that it rejects the racist and hateful ideology this monument represents. We oppose the renovation of the cemetery and the addition of headstones because:
Cemetery renovations and headstones were not part of the relocation proposal circulated last December and the new plan was never shared with the university as a whole. The proposal falsely asserted that the new plan had “received written endorsement from various campus constituencies,” when in reality, at least two of the constituencies named, and perhaps all, were not aware of the details of this new plan prior to the release of the IHL Board’s June 18th agenda. The university continues to develop plans for the site beyond what was presented to the IHL Board, according to a university spokesman in a statement to Mississippi Today on June 19, 2020. The university has not announced who is responsible for developing these plans and has not made these plans, or those making them, available for public scrutiny. None of the undersigned historians are involved in any way.
Investing resources in creating and preserving Confederate symbols sends the wrong message about the university’s priorities. Confederate monuments and related symbols are coming down across the South. Adding headstones to the cemetery in conjunction with the monument relocation betrays student, faculty, and staff demands, which were aimed at removing Confederate symbols from campus, not simply moving a monument from one place to another. As the ASB’s 2019 resolution plainly asserted, “Confederate ideology directly violates the tenets of the University Creed that support fairness, civility, and respect for the dignity of each person.”
Beautifying and aggrandizing the cemetery during the relocation of the Confederate monument reinforces the university’s troubling pattern of making something-for-everyone compromises rather than making an unambiguous move toward justice and inclusivity. Moving the monument should be a clear stand against racism, not another embarrassing attempt to placate those who wish to maintain the university’s connection to Confederate symbols. It is especially troubling that the university appears to have misled official representatives of its current students, faculty, and staff by misrepresenting their public and deliberative actions, while secretly catering to the private fantasies of individual donors to promote a distorted version of the university’s history at the expense of its present and future.
Combining headstones and other cemetery renovations with the relocation of the monument turns the monument into part of a new, larger Confederate symbol on campus. We should not create new spaces that enshrine Lost Cause ideology, make our students feel unwelcome, and attract neoconfederate groups to campus. The university has no business creating a venue for glorifying the Confederacy that will, in turn, threaten students.
Headstones are expensive and would require costly maintenance. Time spent raising money for these renovations is time wasted. The university should direct its fundraising efforts at developing additional minority spaces on campus, renovating and finally renaming Vardaman Hall, hiring additional Black and other minority faculty and staff, and providing all employees with a living wage Even if private donations underwrite the initial installation of headstones, the university will incur a raft of ongoing expenses—everything from weather-mitigation to grounds keeping to security. Moving forward, campus stakeholders will continue wondering why university leaders accepted, raised, or allocated funds toward the cemetery when those monies could have been used to advance equity on campus and the educational mission of the university at large.
Headstones would distort the historical record. The cemetery itself originally functioned as a place to store the bodies of the soldiers who died at the temporary hospital created on campus after the Civil War interrupted classes in 1861. Permanent headstones were never installed and nothing that is currently visible on the site is original to the Civil War era. Rather than serve an educational purpose, headstones would misrepresent the site and its history.
Headstone names could never be accurate. We have limited knowledge about which soldiers were buried in the cemetery and which remain there, and we know even less about where on the site they were laid to rest. The documents we would need to do this work simply do not exist. We have no way to accurately identify the occupants of the cemetery, let alone determine their location on the grounds.
It would be disrespectful to the dead to install inaccurate headstones. Placing a headstone with one soldier’s name on it above the remains of an entirely different person (whose identity can never be known) would be a poor tribute to either one of them.
Cemetery renovations and headstones will hamper rather than enhance our understanding of this site as it connects to the role the university played as a hospital during the Civil War. The monument currently standing on the Circle is not a Civil War artifact but a Jim Crow-era monument to white supremacy. It was erected in 1906 by white supremacists to promote Lost Cause ideology well after the Civil War had ended. Its dedication speech praised Confederates for what they did to “preserve Anglo-Saxon civilization” by terrorizing Black southerners and stripping them of civil and political rights during Reconstruction. These renovations do not create a “site for educational purposes.” On the contrary, connecting this monument to a cemetery enhanced by brand new, historically inaccurate headstones implies that both the monument and the headstones are Civil War artifacts, and thus uses Civil War history to promote white supremacist Lost Cause ideology.
As historians, we know that monuments reflect the values of the people who erect them. To glorify the cemetery and the relocated Confederate monument in the ahistorical ways the university has proposed is to build a new Confederate monument in 2020, effectively reenacting the injustice that white supremacists committed when they erected it in 1906. In doing so, the university will create a new destination for neoconfederate and other extremist groups on campus, not only violating its stated values, but also jeopardizing the peace and safety of its students, faculty, and staff. We urge the university to leave the cemetery as it currently is. Further, to begin to repair the breach of trust with campus constituents that the university has committed during this episode, we demand that the university immediately make public all records of its deliberations and decision-making regarding the plans for the relocation of the Confederate monument and the redevelopment of the cemetery.”
Staying in Mississippi, this article identifies an idiot in the state senate who is pushing the black confederate lie to lie about the state flag. “State Sen. Kathy Chism, R-New Albany, believes the Legislature should not change the state flag and has without any evidence claimed that a Black veteran of the Confederacy designed the flag. Historical accounts widely attribute the design of Mississippi’s flag, which was adopted in 1894, to Edward Scudder. Scudder was a white state senator and attorney. But in a Sunday Facebook post, Chism, a freshman lawmaker, made a different historical claim without referring to any sources. ‘The MS flag was designed by an African American Confederate Soldier,’ Chism wrote. ‘I can only imagine how proud he was that his art, his flag design was chosen to represent our State and now we want to strip him of his pride, his hard work. I’m sure he put a lot of thought into this design.’ Within the comments to her post, multiple people corrected Chism’s claim. As of Monday evening, Chism’s original post remained. When reached Monday night, Chism said she has no comment on the post and would not answer any questions about the source of her claims about the design of the flag.”
The idiot next proves she’ another phony Christian and a racist to boot: “Citing her Christian faith, Chism also said that in the crucifixion of Jesus as described by the Bible, ‘God made clear ALL LIVES MATTER.’ The phrase ‘all lives matters’ is often used as a rejoinder to the slogan often used by protestors and demonstrators that ‘Black lives matter.’ Chism also wrote that, ‘until we change our hearts by accepting God thru the blood of Jesus nothing will change.’ ”
The article then gives us some actual history. “Mississippi History Now, an electronic publication of the Mississippi Historical Society, details the history of the various flags that have flown over the territory of the state, from the era of European colonial exploration to the present. ‘According to the best information available, Senator E.N. Scudder of Mayersville, a member of the Joint Legislative Committee for a State Flag, designed Mississippi’s new flag,’ according to Mississippi History Now, referring to the 1894 flag that continues to fly. A source frequently cited to support Scudder’s design of the flag is an address his daughter gave in 1924 to the convention of the Mississippi Division of the United Daughters of the Confederacy. ‘My father loved the memory of the valor and courage of those brave men who wore the grey,’ said Fayssoux Scudder Corneil, according to Mississippi History Now. ‘He told me that it was a simple matter for him to design the flag because he wanted to perpetuate in a legal and lasting way that dear battle flag under which so many of our people had so gloriously fought.’ Historical records of the U.S. Census, including the 1920 and 1930 counts, list as white the race of an ‘Edward N. Scudder’ from Mayersville. According to census records, his birthdate was around 1860 and so he himself would not have fought in the Civil War. Historical catalogues of the University of Mississippi list Scudder as a graduate of that university and describe him as an attorney and state legislator.”
And speaking of the Mississippi state flag, we have this article telling us, “Walmart has announced that it will no longer display the Mississippi state flag ‘in its current form.’ According to Walmart spokesperson Anne Hatfield, while the design of the state flag is discussed, the company has made the decision to remove the Mississippi flag from displaying in all of its stores. ‘We believe it’s the right thing to do, and is consistent with Walmart’s position to not sell merchandise with the confederate flag from stores and online sites,’ said Hatfield. She continued, saying, the decision is based on the company’s ‘commitment to provide a welcoming and inclusive experience for all of our customers in the communities we serve.’ This as calls came from both the Mississippi Baptist Convention and the Mississippi Black Caucus Tuesday to change the flag.”
While we’re on the subject of flags, how did Union veterans feel about confederate flags? We have this entry for one incident. “But an incident in the Schuylkill County community of Port Carbon in May 1905 gives a keen example of just how offensive the confederate battle flag was to local Union veterans who survived the Civil War and their descendants. This dramatic event occurred on Decoration Day (Memorial Day) in 1905. On Pike Street in Port Carbon, the sister-in-law of a local physician flew the ‘stars and bars’ from the third floor of the family’s home just before the town’s parade to honor local soldiers who died during the Civil War.
The patriotic sentiments of the good people of Port Carbon were stirred up yesterday by an incident which for a time created an ugly feeling when the stars and bars of the defeated Confederacy were hung above the stars and stripes at the residence of Dr. T. F. Heebner.
The flag was displayed from a third story window by Miss Nellie Matthews, a sister of Mrs. Heebner, whose home is in North Carolina, but who has been spending most of her time with her sister. She was ordered to take it down by Chief Burgess Wagner but refused to do so, and it was not until Allison Brothers Post, G.A.R. marched to the house in a body and demanded its removal on threat of having it shot down, that the flag was taken down.
At the Heebner home the national colors were displayed from the porch roof in accordance with the decorations of other residents along Pike St. But soon after they had been thrown to the breeze the neighbors were aroused when the stars and bars of the secessionists appeared over Old Glory. It was considered by all who saw it to be an insult and Chief Burgess Wagner was quickly notified.
He went to the Heebner home and demanded its removal peacefully or else submit to its being torn down by force. The demand was refused but before any further action was taken the inspiring music of a drum corps was heard approaching from Washington St. They played a patriotic air and behind them marched the grizzled veterans of the Rebellion.
Their faces were flushed and their steps were quickened by what they considered an insult to them and to their country. Around the corner they came with their flag flying proudly at their head and arriving at the Heebner home they halted.
A formal demand was made to have the flag taken down at once under penalty of having it shot from its fastenings. The spirit of the ‘60s had been again aroused in the hearts of the old veterans and they meant business. This was recognized in their stern features and the objectional piece of bunting was removed.
The post then returned to their rooms where the line of parade was formed…
As the blog post continues, “These veterans felt strongly about the issues they fought over in the Civil War and believed they fought in a righteous cause to save the Constitution and the United States of America. They were rightly indignant to see the flag of the rebellion flying in their hometown. These patriotic American citizens understood what that flag stood for: slavery and a failed attempt to overthrow the United States government. In the effort to put down that rebellion, they risked their lives so that the nation could have a new birth of freedom. And in that effort, they sacrificed their health and their limbs and lost countless friends and loved ones. So when you see that confederate flag blowing in the wind or slapped on a bumper sticker, remember these veterans and their indignation at that symbol being emblazoned in the heart of the Keystone State. They were right – the flag has no place in Pennsylvania’s Coal Region. And if you have read this to the end, I hope you will seriously consider what that flag stood for in the Civil War, during Reconstruction, Jim Crow, and segregation, and what it stands for today.”
Next we consider this article about James Madison University. It says, “James Madison University, in Virginia, announced on Monday it would recommend to its governing body that the university rename three buildings named for Confederate military leaders — Jackson, Ashby and Maury Halls. The university is recommending to the JMU Board of Visitors the immediate removal of the names and the assignment of temporary names, to be followed by the establishment of an ‘inclusive’ process for developing new names over the coming academic year. ‘We know that these names are a painful reminder of a history of oppression, and that they send an unwelcoming message to Black students, faculty and staff in particular,’ JMU president Jonathan R. Alger said in a statement. ‘That is not who we are or who we want to be.’ Alger said he anticipated ‘dissenting views, including some who argue that such a change will cause us to ignore or forget our own history. Understanding and sharing our history is indeed also a part of our educational mission. Accordingly, we will not forget or ignore that history — but we will put it into an educational context. As we move forward, we will describe the history of these buildings and their names over the years through internal building signage, QR Codes, and our website.’ Alger said the university is not reconsidering changing the name of the university, which is named for the fourth president of the United States — and a slaveholder. ‘It is certainly true that James Madison himself owned slaves during his lifetime, and as an institution we have taken important steps to tell the full history of Madison and of his times,’ Alger said. ‘We recognize his flaws as well as his virtues — a combination that describes all of us, and our times as well as his. But that is not the reason why his legacy is honored through the name of this university. The university itself was renamed for James Madison because he is internationally recognized as the Father of the US Constitution and the primary author of the Bill of Rights, which have served as the very framework for democracy in our country and as a model for nations all around the world.’ ”
Staying in Virginia, we have this article. “The Fairfax County Board of Education unanimously voted Tuesday to rename Robert E. Lee High School in Springfield. FOX 5’s Tom Fitzgerald reports the school board is considering the following names to replace the now former ‘Robert E. Lee’ High School: Rep. John Lewis, President Barack Obama, Mildred Loving, Cezar Chavez, Legacy, and Central Springfield. The renaming process had been delayed since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, in light of recent social justice demonstrations nationwide, it began to move quickly following an emotional public hearing held on Monday night in which many students spoke out demanding that the name of the Confederate general be removed from their school. Some who testified Monday said they felt ashamed attending a school named for Gen. Lee, who led the Confederate Army during the Civil War.”
According to this article, “About 15 years ago, a large synagogue in northern California installed a set of windows in the religious school engraved with the names of some 175 prominent Jews, from biblical figures to famous actors. One of them, sandwiched between Zionist leader Vladimir Jabotinsky and former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, was Judah Benjamin, the most prominent Jewish official in the Confederacy. Benjamin, who enslaved 140 people on a Louisiana sugar plantation, served variously as the Confederate attorney general, secretary of war and secretary of state. The inclusion of Benjamin’s name on the wall didn’t arouse much protest until 2013, about eight years after the installation at Peninsula Temple Sholom, a Reform congregation in Burlingame. That was when a congregant named Howard Wettan listened to a podcast about the Civil War as his daughter attended Hebrew school in the building. ‘I connected the dots,’ Wettan said. ‘I saw the name once more and said there’s something really wrong with that.’ Wettan launched a years-long campaign that coincided with a national reckoning over Confederate monuments and eventually persuaded the synagogue to grapple with the name’s significance. Benjamin’s name is now covered in tape and will be replaced, along with two other names, later this year. … Peninsula Temple Sholom did not put Benjamin’s name on the window to glorify white supremacy. The idea was to include names of significant figures from all corners of Jewish history, according to the synagogue’s chief community officer. ‘I believe the original intention was to create a wall that was somewhat educational,’ Karen Wisialowski said. ‘It hasn’t really served that purpose.’ Wisialowski added: ‘Having names of folks on our wall to a viewer would feel as if these were people that we were admiring and expressing pride in, and ultimately that’s why we decided to take the names down.’ ”
The article gives us some background on Judah Benjamin: “Benjamin’s role as a leader of a white supremacist rebellion was the main problem with that approach, Rabin said, but it wasn’t the only one for specifically Jewish memorials. Benjamin’s opponents tarred him for his Judaism, but he never really embraced being a Jew. He married a Catholic woman, raised his kids Catholic and was not involved in Jewish institutions. He fled to the United Kingdom after the war. ‘By the time of the Civil War, he was pretty far removed from organized Jewish life or personal Jewish commitment,’ Rabin said. ‘The people who were calling Benjamin a Jew were the people who didn’t like him.’ ”
We next have this article about the John C. Calhoun monument. “The John C. Calhoun Monument was put up June 27th, 1896. The 124th anniversary is four days from now. Now, slated to come down more than a century later, the statue was a lighting rod for controversy from the start. ‘We have accounts from African-Americans who were living in Charleston who said they felt the monument was put up to remind them to stay in their place,’ explained Dr. Adam Domby with the College of Charleston’s history department. The monument looming high in Marion Square is not the first one. The original monument was taken down. Historians said it was considered unattractive and it was replaced with the current statue, elevated to protect it. ‘The lower statue was the object of black hostility and threw objects at it because Calhoun was an object of black disdain,’ added Dr. Bernard Powers, also from CofC. Calhoun’s political accomplishments are staggering. He was a South Carolina senator as well as a U.S secretary of war and vice president. However, he was also pro-slavery, calling it a ‘positive good.’ ‘It is important to remember that John C. Calhoun was one of the architects of pro-slavery argument,’ stated Powers. On Tuesday evening, Charleston city leaders unanimously decided that the monument would come down. ‘The Confederacy only lasted four years… I should point out that is one hundredth of Charleston’s history, and yet, but we have more monuments to the Confederacy than all other events in the city combined,’ stated Domby. Historical accounts say the monument cost nearly $20,000 in 1896. That translates to over a half million dollars today.”
This story tells us the Teddy Roosevelt statue in front of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City is coming down. “The bronze statue of Theodore Roosevelt, on horseback and flanked by a Native American man and an African man, which has presided over the entrance to the American Museum of Natural History in New York since 1940, is coming down. The decision, proposed by the museum and agreed to by New York City, which owns the building and property, came after years of objections from activists and at a time when the killing of George Floyd has initiated an urgent nationwide conversation about racism. For many, the equestrian statue at the museum’s Central Park West entrance has come to symbolize a painful legacy of colonial expansion and racial discrimination. ‘Over the last few weeks, our museum community has been profoundly moved by the ever-widening movement for racial justice that has emerged after the killing of George Floyd,’ the museum’s president, Ellen V. Futter, said in an interview. ‘We have watched as the attention of the world and the country has increasingly turned to statues as powerful and hurtful symbols of systemic racism.’ Ms. Futter made clear that the museum’s decision was based on the statue itself — namely its ‘hierarchical composition’—- and not on Roosevelt, whom the museum continues to honor as ‘a pioneering conservationist.’ ‘Simply put,’ she added, ‘the time has come to move it.’ ” According to Theodore Roosevelt IV, TR’s great-grandson, “The composition of the Equestrian Statue does not reflect Theodore Roosevelt’s legacy. It is time to move the statue and move forward.”
One look at the statue makes it obvious why it’s being moved.
This article tells us protesters in Washington, D.C. tried unsuccessfully to pull down the statue to Andrew Jackson. “The famous statue of the seventh president on a rearing horse sits opposite the North Portico of the White House. The park has been the scene of anti-racist protests since the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis last month. Protesters removed a chain-link fence that had recently been placed around the statue and climbed its base to tie ropes around the neck of Jackson and his horse, according to The Associated Press. Efforts to pull the statue off its pedestal were unsuccessful. Jackson’s likeness is the latest statue of a historic figure associated with racism to be targeted by protesters. President Jackson, who was a Tennessee slaveholder, signed into law the Indian Removal Act in 1830, which led to the expulsion of Native Americans east of the Mississippi River. The Cherokees’ forced march to Oklahoma, during which thousands died, became known as the Trail of Tears.”
The Toddler-in-Chief is upset and threw a temper tantrum, as he is wont to do. This article tells us, “President Trump vowed via Twitter on Tuesday morning that anyone who vandalizes ‘any monument, statue or other such federal property’ will be arrested and face up to 10 years in prison, citing a little-known 2003 piece of legislation.” Of course, since he’s an idiot he has no idea what the legislation says or means. It doesn’t cover “any monument, statue or other such federal property.” More to come on that.
The article continues, “His announcement comes after he decried an attempt by demonstrators to remove a statue of Andrew Jackson that sits across from the White House. Referencing the Veterans’ Memorial Preservation Act in a separate tweet, Trump warned such protesters: ‘Beware!’ Despite Trump’s assertions, the act doesn’t require his authorization. Passed in 2003, it states that a person who ‘willfully injures or destroys, or attempts to injure or destroy, any structure, plaque, statue, or other monument on public property commemorating the service of any person or persons in the armed forces of the United States shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 10 years, or both.” The act, whose text can fit on a single page, was passed with bipartisan support following vandalism at various veterans cemeteries.” As we can see, the act only covers monuments that commemorate service in the armed forces of the United States. So confederate monuments aren’t covered, whether they are owned by the federal government or not. Nor does it cover statues of Christopher Columbus.
The article continues, “Republican Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas has also called for the Justice Department to use the act to bring charges against those who attempt to topple monuments. On Monday, he penned a letter to Attorney General William Barr, saying, ‘It’s past time to stop the mob; these vandals should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.’ Trump told reporters before taking off to Arizona to campaign that he plans to sign an executive order to ‘reinforce what’s already there, but in a more uniform way.’ He did not elaborate on what that means.” He doesn’t know what it means.
According to the article, “Chad Williams, chair of the Department of African and African American Studies at Brandeis University, calls Trump’s plan for an executive order problematic. ‘How an order like that would actually be enforced remains to be seen,’ he said. ‘But what this thing speaks to in a really problematic way is the president’s desire to tamp down, to crush any forms of protest and dissent and to weaponize the various apparatuses of federal government, including the military, National Guard, Secret Service, to act as agents of enforcement.’ “