|Some radicals want statues of Christopher Columbus torn down, claiming he symbolizes "European Conquest."|
We simply cannot judge figures from our history based upon today's lens of laws, regulations, and social norms.
Our past is one of vicious cruelty to our fellow man. It is ugly. History is what it was, not what we wish it might have been.
Yet we celebrate figures from our history--even the most flawed. Because all men are flawed, only God is perfect and we all know this.
Men that did horrible things by today's standards are memorialized with statues, bridges, monuments, highways, roads, airports, boats, and other honorary designations--based in most cases--on the totality of their contribution to our nation. We find these all over the country.
But a recent phenomenon is troubling.
Certain folks are DEMANDING some monuments come down. Others are vandalizing selected monuments. Statues are being taken down in the dead of night, memorial designations are being taken away.
Meanwhile--some historical figures that did horrible things escape all scrutiny. Why?
Other historical figures that did far less are being targeted by the "monument police" Why?
In Pensacola, it goes a little something like this......
Our bridge from Pensacola to Gulf Breeze is named the Philip D. Beall Sr. Memorial Bridge. Beall was the Florida Senate President who procured the funding for the bridge, and died in office before the bridge was completed in 1962. (He died in 1943 while his sons were fighting in WW II.)
Nobody paid attention--most locals just called the bridge the 3-Mile Bridge.
But the Beall family remained proud of this structure that carried their family name. For decades.
Fast forward to 2019 and a replacement structure is being built, and under existing FDOT protocol-the replacement structure will carry the Beall name--absent any legislative action that would re-name the bridge.
And, you guessed it, a group HAS come forward and asked that the legislature name this replacement structure for a very worthwhile historical figure, General Darniel R. "Chappie James." To do this, however, would mean the Beall designation would go away.
And for the Beall family--this is the rub. They prefer to keep their family name on the bridge because they are proud of their family. Understanding and valuing Chappie James' legacy--the Beall's have even offered to support the two families sharing a dual-designation on the new structure.
Sadly--this magnanimous overture by the Beall family is being met with open hostility and vitriolic attacks.
People are saying Senator Beall was a racist and a white Supremacist--even though he never owned slaves and nobody has presented anything at all that points to him being a "racist."
The haters hang their collective hats on legislation Beall sponsored in 1935 that made Democratic primaries "white only." But these primaries were going on all over the south and the Supreme Court decision in Grovey v. Townsend ruled that such primaries did not deprive citizens of their 14th or 15th Amendment rights.
Yes--with the luxury of history we know this was wrong, all of it. The poll taxes, the literacy tests,