The former Dukes of Hazzard star turned Democratic congressman was one of several people who wrote in about my story about North Carolina's white supremacist statues in the U.S. Capitol.
There are those who would make the argument that our slave-owning forbears (such as mine) did not see themselves as violating the enslaved's human rights inasmuch as they did not consider Black people to be fully human. That horrific viewpoint is central to apologists for the Confederacy and slavery in general. And anyone in this day and age who tries to "white"wash that history is just as guilty as those who perpetrated the original sin of enslavement. Period.
Well then. That ending did not disappoint. I understand the concern over erasing every flawed person from monuments. However, neither Aycock nor Vance were anywhere close to a Washington or Jefferson. Let’s celebrate that we can have other extraordinary North Carolinians, flaws and all, replace the statues of those who represent some darker times of our state’s history.
Whoo-whee — them Duke boys are at it again! Loved this article and I am now a paid subscriber. I specifically did so to replace the money lost by slaver- and confederate-apologist Ben Jones. The cognitive dissonance is strong with this one.
Judging the past based on the morals of the present is what we're supposed to do - it's how we reflect, reassess, and grow as a society. If we didn't do that, we might not have the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C. (I assume that monument is something Ben Jones would support, citing his words on Dr. King.)
In 1968, nearly 75% of Americans considered MLK to be "persona non grata" and 60% of African Americans considered him irrelevant. (https://time.com/5042070/donald-trump-martin-luther-king-mlk/ ) Judging by the times he was in, MLK was a radical and divisive man not worthy of any kind of monument. But we as a society have grown since then (maybe with the exception of certain folks in Hazzard County!) so erecting a monument in his honor TODAY is not seen as radical, but moral, necessary, and long overdue.
Judging the past based on today's standards goes the other way, as well. We don't have to erase the history of this country to recognize that building and maintaining monuments for white supremacists is amoral. And before you get your stars-and-bars panties in a wad: yes! I do think that monuments to slavers (including Washington and Jefferson!) should be modified and put into a context that exhibits the hypocrisy of their ownership over other people. Just because they founded the country in which we live does not give them a pass for committing human rights violations.
One last thing: Ben Jones does not get to decide what a "true historian" or "serious writer" is. All monuments to any confederate traitors (especially Stonewall Jackson) should be torn down and put in a museum dedicated to understanding the history of white supremacy. We should not honor men as morally repugnant as Jackson, but rather seek to teach others about the evil that twisted their minds to do such horrible things as fight to maintain the status quo of slavery.
I suspect Cooter's sensitive to this particular niche of NC history. His car had a big stars & bars on the roof and Warner Bros stopped allowing merch. Today you can buy these guitar picks on Cooter's store: https://cootersplace.com/guitar-pick-confederate-flag/