“Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.” — George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-four.
With the anti-fascist liberals running around the country tearing down statues of soldiers, politicians and other memorials to the southern Civil War dead, it would seem that Amelia Island’s David Yulee would be high on their hit list.
Yulee’s is a privately funded statue that sits on public property in downtown Fernandina Beach, so I assume the liberal local Taliban might at least offer those that paid $50,000 to put Mr. Yulee on his bench in front of the old downtown train station four years ago an opportunity to move him elsewhere, maybe the South 3rd Street museum. Maybe not. From what I’ve seen these intolerant fanatical statue smashers are not a compromising crowd.
For example, the ISIS/Taliban wannabe monument cleansers say that even the images of Stonewall Jackson, Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis on the side of Atlanta’s Stone Mountain — the world’s largest piece of exposed granite — have to go, and they are on private property leased to the state. So I suspect that yanking benchwarmer Yulee off his perch in front of downtown’s old train station shouldn’t pose too much of an issue for this motley monument mashing mob.
The “Tear it down” mentality is spreading as fast as the Democrat’s masked Antifa militia and their media cheerleaders can fan the flames to other areas and other statues. These crazed folks are in a wolf pack, statue-smashing frenzy so you never know when or where they may strike next to save future generations from gazing on replicas of what they say are “racist evil doers.”
I’ve never been a big fan of slave-holder and secession advocate Yulee, thinking him a scam artist who ripped off state tax payers. But the statue is there and it was paid for with private funds. So, I really don’t have a dog in this fight, except as an observer to see how the folks who funded the statue will defend it against a crazed mob that may want it gone.
In his 2013 book “Finding Florida – The true History of the Sunshine State”, native Floridian and Miami Herald Reporter, T.D. Allman, obliterates the local Yulee myth while in his book, “Oh, Florida!”, author Craig Pittman adds fuel to that fire, taking particular aim at Yulee, calling him “one of the rogues and rascals who ran the state for his own profit.” Apparently the only folks that admire him are the ones hereabouts who honored him with the statue.
Allman traces slaveholder Yulee’s path from his urging of Florida to join the Union to advocating its secession while a sitting U.S. Senator, an act that earned him a prison term in Fort Pulaski, GA for treason following the Civil War.
Yulee’s one single accomplishment, says Pittman in his book, was “building Florida’s first cross-state railroad using federal and state money that also lined his own pockets.” For all his dubious achievements Yulee has a town and a Gulf Coast County (Levy, his real name before changing it to Yulee) named after him as well as the Fernandina Beach statue honoring him.
A clear voice of reason amidst this statuary smashing fury is former NBA star and current TV sports analyst, Charles Barkley.
In an August 21 article in The American Spectator by Larry Thorneberry, who graduated the same year as me from Tampa’s H.B. Plant High School, quotes Mr. Barkley as saying: “I’m not going to waste my time worrying about these Confederate statues. That’s wasted energy. You know what I’m going to do? I’m going to keep trying to make a difference, number one in the black community — because I’m black — but also gonna try to do good things in the world. I’m not gonna waste my time on a neo-Nazi who’s gonna hate me no matter what.
“I’ve always ignored them. I’m 54 years old. I’ve never thought about those statues a day in my life. I think if you ask most black people to be honest, they ain’t thought a day in their life about those stupid statues.
“What we as black people need to do: We need to worry about getting our education. We need to stop killing each other. We need to try to find a way to have more economic opportunity and things like that. Those things are important and significant.”
I like the way Mr. Barkley thinks.
And speaking of statues here’s a few I can think of that could make an activist’s hit list depending on their mentally derailed train of thought.
Vladimir Lenin (Seattle, Washington) — a 16-foot statue of Lenin, who murdered close to two million people during the Russian Red Terror (1917-22), stands in Seattle, Washington without as much as peep from the statue bashing crowd. It’s there because it would be out of place in any other American community, well except maybe San Francisco or Berkley.
Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV) — a Statue of Democrat and former leader of the Ku Klux Klan Robert Byrd is on display in a rotunda inside the West Virginia State Capitol. Half the buildings, bridges, highways, tunnels, etc. in that state are named after this guy, who was The Exalted Cyclops of The KKK and argued vehemently against the 1964 Civil Rights Act. He’s there because racism and bigotry is overlooked by the left when you’re bringing home a lot of federal bacon.
Oliver Cromwell (London, England) — His statue stands outside of the British Parliament building despite the fact he rose to rule Britain as a dictator through a brutal civil war, had a king beheaded, and brutalized Irish Catholics. He’s there because he was a “Royal” pain and is part of that country’s history.
Napoleon Bonaparte (Paris, France) — Napoleon’s Tomb in Paris, located in the Hôtel national des Invalides, complete with statues, is one of the most visited sites in that city containing a military museum and tributes to the man who crowned himself emperor, conquered Europe and was responsible for the death of millions of soldiers and civilians. There’s even a statue of him in Waterloo, where he was defeated by the British and Prussians. He’s there because he represents a big chunk of European history and was the most successful military commander France ever experienced.
Jubilation T. Cornpone (Dogpatch, USA) — Renown for his military exploits including Cornpone’s Rout, Cornpone’s Retreat and Cornpone’s Disaster, his statue resides in the center of Dogpatch, a fictional Appalachian backwater created in the fertile imagination of the late cartoonist Al Capp. Cornpone is there because Capp used him to parody southern Civil War monuments.
Duncan Clinch (Fernandina Beach, FL) — Despite leaving behind a legacy of corruption, violence, fraud, military ineptitude and injustice, Duncan Clinch has been honored by having a Georgia county named after him as well as Fort Clinch, one of Amelia Island’s most popular tourist attractions other than the beach. While leading Florida’s 1816 Fort Negro assault, considered one of the worst slaughters of innocent civilians in American military history, Clinch admitted that the great majority of those his forces killed were “more than 200 women and children.” The fort’s there because it’s part of our area’s history, but why it’s named after Clinch, who once abandoned his troops on the field of battle, I have no idea.
Lieutenant General James Thomas Brudenell, 7th Earl of Cardigan (Deene Park, Northamptonshire, England) — Lord Cardigan was an officer in the British Army who commanded the Light Brigade during the Crimean War. He led the Charge of the Light Brigade at the Battle of Balaclava (1854), make famous by Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s poem but considered a military disaster and blunder by historians. He’s there because the Cardigan sweater is named after him and the family home once sat on Deene Park.
Ronald McDonald (Everywhere, USA) — Statues of this clown are in almost every town that boasts a McDonald’s hamburger outlet. According to activist nutritionists his advocacy of burgers, fries and sugar-filled soft drinks is causing unhealthy eating habits, obesity, diabetes and dangerous cholesterol levels among Americans and their kids. He’s there because hungry Americans are in a hurry and don’t give a rip what hallowed-eyed, sunken-cheeked food fanatics think.
However, there are some historical figures so reprehensibly evil they deserve nothing but factual scorn in history books, including 20th Century monsters Adolph Hitler, China’s Mao Zedong, Cambodia’s Pol Pot, Japan’s Hideki Tojo, Cuba’s Fidel Castro, and the Soviet Union’s Joseph Stalin.
However, this is all for historians, local citizens and elected officials to decide. It’s not wise to allow unruly, frenzied mobs wielding homemade flame throwers, clubs and cars with crazed drivers to set public policy. The folks on the left were absent against communism and radical Islamism but are in the first wave of fighting the evils of statues and carbon emissions.
The Price Of Stupid: If the University of Missouri is an example, institutions of higher education around the country won’t require as many “safe places” or coloring books since there will be fewer snowflakes to coddle this fall.
When Missouri’s student and faculty activists started their goofy “white privilege” and “racism lives here” campus antics in 2015 leading to the cowardly school administration caving in to all their loopy demands including the resignation of the school’s president, the university has seen its spinelessness rewarded with a harsh and expensive public backlash.
The Wall Street Journal reports that as classes began the week of August 21, freshman enrollment at Mizzou was down 35 percent. The university is beginning the school year with the smallest incoming class since 1999. Overall enrollment is down by more than 2,000 students and the campus has closed seven dormitories. All of this is related to a series of goofy student protests, one in which “nutty professor,” Mellissa Click, achieved her 15 minutes of fame by calling for “muscle” to toss a school journalist out of a protest rally. Due to public pressure, the school finally fired this loopy lass, but the chaos continued.
The classrooms aren’t the only areas of the school thinning out. During Mizzou’s 2016 football season 13,000 fans said “no thanks” and during basketball at least one-third of the Tigers’ arena seats sat empty.
The economic turmoil has also caused layoffs from the library to the maintenance department, while letters and emails from angry alumni and former sports fans are continuing to flow in, and they don’t include checks. Instead they’re telling school officials in no uncertain terms that Missy and Junior will NOT be attending their alma mater and their checks for season tickets and donations are NOT in the mail.
Parents and grandparents have decided that a solid education, not crayons, videos of kittens, and Play-Doh, is what their kids and grandkids need to succeed in the real world, a place alien to most Mizzou university professors and administrators.
The public anger is spreading to other universities with equally devastating results proving how isolated and out of touch these Berkeleyesque campuses have become. These universities should take a lesson from Israel which doesn’t negotiate with terrorists. The schools are paying dearly for their idiocy, far left ideology and timidity.
Speaking of Idiocy: ESPN, the Exceptionally Stupid Pinheads Network, pulled a college football announcer off the broadcast of the Virginia-William & Mary football game because the announcer’s name is Robert Lee. The dim network suits were concerned that the guy’s name might be offensive to some viewers. Did I mention that the announcer is Asian? ASIAN, for Pete’s sake. Hey ESPNutjobs, the real Robert E. Lee is dead. He’s been dead for 147 years. Look it up. This Asian announcer was not involved in the U.S. Civil War, not as an announcer, an observer or a passerby. I believe if the William & Mary sports information director told ESPN that William would be quarterbacking and Mary was on the Tribe’s kickoff return team those bozos would believe it. They’re obviously not the brightest bulbs in the chandelier.
Read All About It Department: On Page 2A of the Wednesday, August 30 edition of the local News-Leader, under “Obituaries” those listed included a couple with headlines reading: “Volunteers needed” and “Gun courses.” None of these announced the demise of anyone, but suggested future possibilities. The newspaper’s editor either has a bizarre sense of humor or can’t edit worth a lick.
Unsubstantiated Rumor Department: I’ve heard from several sources that I consider reliable that Dallas Cowboy owner Jerry Jones is building a house on South Fletcher Ave. Normally, as a Redskins fan, I wouldn’t care, but since Mr. Jones told his players that if any of them refuse to stand for the national anthem, they’re off his team, I’ll be one of the first to welcome this gentleman to the island.
Drinking, Dining & Dancing: Wouldn’t it be pleasant to sip a glass of wine or quaff a beer while grocery shopping? Winn Dixie, Publix and Harris Teeter frown on that kind of activity in their stores, but not BuyGo, the new bodega that celebrates its grand opening Saturday, September 2, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. In fact they encourage it. Located in the old Fred’s location at 22 South 8th Street, the corner of Ash, it boasts a “Pourhouse” a special wine room and a coffee bar. The Honeybadgers, one of the most popular bands on Amelia Island, will perform their classic rock specials tonight, Friday, September 1 as part of the monthly “Sounds on Centre.” If you want to combine good food and great music then the Les DeMerle Jazz Trio featuring Bonnie Eisele and keyboard player Scott Giddens will be at Horizons Restaurant this Friday and Saturday from 6 to 9 p.m. You’ll leave with a good taste in your mouth and humming all the way home.