Restricted Georgia house bill would protect Confederate, Revolutionary War monuments

CMWinkler

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Georgia house bill would protect Confederate, Revolutionary War monuments
Posted: January 30, 2013 - 5:50pm | Updated: January 31, 2013 - 8:11am
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View this story on the All-Access Members site


By Walter C. Jones
ATLANTA — Legislation introduced Tuesday would prohibit local governments from hiding monuments they are no longer proud of.
The measure, House Bill 91, is designed to safeguard statues, plaques and other markers recognizing Revolutionary War or Confederate heroes from modern objections to views on race held in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Rep. Tommy Benton, R-Jefferson, introduced the proposal at the request of the Sons of the American Revolution and the Sons of Confederate Veterans.
The bill, if passed, would require that monuments be kept in a prominent place.
“We’re not saying they can’t move them,” Benton said. “We’re just saying they can’t just put them in a field somewhere.”
He also introduced a separate bill that would require property owners to give access to the families of people buried in private cemeteries on their land. He said many families have been frustrated that they can’t get permission to tend the graves of their ancestors because those who now own the land surrounding the family plots refuse to admit them.
http://jacksonville.com/news/georgi...l-would-protect-confederate-revolutionary-war
 

CMWinkler

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Proposed bill would require Georgia monuments, including Confederate ones, to be prominently displayed

Posted by Max Blau @maxblau on Thu, Jan 31, 2013 at 1:08 PM

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  • Georgia House of Representatives
  • Our concerns regarding all the overcrowded fields filled with Gen. Stonewall Jackson statues, plaques, and other commemorative items have now been alleviated.
A new proposal may force local and state governments to
stop hiding reminders of the South's embarrassing past
prominently display Georgia's commemorative monuments - including Confederate ones such as the memorial carving at Stone Mountain.
As part of House Bill 91, violators could be charged with a misdemeanor if government statues, plaques, or other "commemorative symbols" are removed, concealed, or altered in any way. If moved to another location, the law would ensure that such items are displayed at a "site of similar prominence."
The law, which was filed by Rep. Tommy Benton, R-Jefferson, defines a "monument" as:
'Monument' means a monument, plaque, statue, marker, flag, banner, structure name, display, or memorial that is dedicated to a historical entity, event or series of events, nation, or government and which honors or recounts the military service or other service of any past or present military personnel or citizen of this state, the United States of America or the several states thereof, or the Confederate States of America or the several states thereof.​
Benton told Atlanta Daily World that he sponsored the measure after speaking with the Sons of the American Revolution and the Sons of Confederate Veterans.
"We're not saying they can't move them," says Benton. "We're just saying they can't just put them in a field somewhere."
If the Jeffersonian representative's name rings a bell, it's because he spoke out last September in favor of hanging the Ten Commandments in the Gold Dome. When asked by the AJC about displaying a framed copy of a religious document on the wall of taxpayer-funded facility, he replied: "I'm not concerned if anyone will take offense ... If they don't want to look at it, they don't have to look at it."
We've reached out to the Sons of Confederate Veterans regarding the timing of this particular bill. If we hear back, we'll post an update.

http://clatl.com/freshloaf/archives...-confederate-ones-to-be-prominently-displayed
 

ForeverFree

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Federal government tells states what they can and cannot do = ZOMG tyranny!

State government tells local governments what they can and cannot do = Deo Vindice!

My thoughts exactly! What if a local community doesn't want a particular monument to be prominent in their community. Does that mean said monument must be forced down their throats? Shouldn't Southerners in their own community have some right to go through the process of deciding what they want on their own public landscape?

- Alan
 

CMWinkler

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Interesting comments. I guess federalism isn't a big topic today. The states are not constructs of the federal government, but are, rather its parents. The states, however, are the parents of and controllers of their local governments. They are apples and oranges, but what the heck, why stand in the way of a witty remark?
 
My thoughts exactly! What if a local community doesn't want a particular monument to be prominent in their community. Does that mean said monument must be forced down their throats? Shouldn't Southerners in their own community have some right to go through the process of deciding what they want on their own public landscape?

- Alan

Forced down their throats? Why not? Would you rather erase history?
 

AndyHall

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Would you rather erase history?
Monuments are not "history" -- they present a specific viewpoint and way of remembering the past that the sponsors of the monument want to put across. As such, they say at least as much about the people who put them up as they do about the events they commemorate.

I'm not a big fan of pulling down monuments. But I'm still less a fan of governments arbitrarily telling elected officials in local communities that some local monuments must be preserved, while not others.
 
So... you think it's OK to force a certain version of history down perople's throats? OK. I don't know if we can have a debate given that stand. I'll just have to say we disagree.

- Alan

Probably not... just think of it working both ways in order to be fair. If I don't like the noise of the train maybe I shouldn't have bought a house by the tracks. I guess they could move the tracks for ME.
 
Monuments are not "history" -- they present a specific viewpoint and way of remembering the past that the sponsors of the monument want to put across. As such, they say at least as much about the people who put them up as they do about the events they commemorate.

I'm not a big fan of pulling down monuments. But I'm still less a fan of governments arbitrarily telling elected officials in local communities that some local monuments must be preserved, while not others.

I'm glad you said that... I always thought they had some historical significance. Tear them all down then... even the ones you like.
 
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It's not exactly apples and oranges. The underlying issue is still the same- a select few in government enacting legislation on behalf of a special interest group which threatens to restrict the rights of others. If a statue of, say, Sherman were proposed to commemorate his march, under this new bill the residents would have to accept that decision.

Erase history? I don't support that- but I also don't support forcing people to accomodate public displays they find objectionable; that cuts both ways-I don't support atheists elbowing out Nativity scenes at Christmas. If a city or town for whatever reason feels they no longer wish to honor the memory of an individual, or an action, that's their decision. They have to live there, I don't. In theory, descendents of the Redcoats could demand the right to place markers honoring the brave men who fought to repress the Colonial Insurrection (okay, not gonna happen, but you get the point) regardless of what people think or how they feel. The notion that the wishes of a special interest group could trump the interests of local businessowners, homeowners, and citizens just seems troublesome, regardless of the cause.

I'm also concerned about the overreach of private property rights- someone's "rights" to honor their ancestors trumps the owner's rights to enjoy their property? Are the owners compensated? Are there limits to the number of visitors they must accomodate? Is there restitution for damage done by visitors? Are they protected from lawsuits due to injury on the property?

I think Andy nailed this one. If the Feds were ordering Georgia to display markers commemorating Sherman's March, or ordering homeowners to provide access to their property for visitors, there would be a huge outcry over it. But because the state is doing it, somehow that makes it okay.
 

CMWinkler

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I'm sorry, Andy, but I don't understand your view at all. Many monuments are works of art and are, frankly, history. If they can be relegated to warehouses or such so that those with no sense of history or appreciation for those who have gone before them can impress upon folks the "history" they want them to know simply because they have the power, where does it stop? Battlefields? Cemeteries?

I have, in this subforum been highlighting Civil War Monuments both North and South. I don't want any of them destroyed, defaced or hidden from view because some find history inconvenient and unappealing. In my youth I was very taken with 1984. I've never forgotten one of the quotes there: " Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past."
 

ForeverFree

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Probably not... just think of it working both ways in order to be fair. If I don't like the noise of the train maybe I shouldn't have bought a house by the tracks. I guess they could move the tracks for ME.

That's an incorrect way of putting it.

Many of these confederate memorials were built during the Jim Crow era. African Americans were prevented from giving input on the creation of the cultural and commemorative landscape. So, a separate and unequal memory was created that befitted a separate and unequal society.

Now, African Americans, and northern migrants, AND modern day white Southerners are having a chance to re-examine the landscape and decide what they feel is appropriate for them. Your assumption seems to be that modern day people have no choice but to accept a past interpretation of the past. Well, a lot of people would beg to differ.

This is not about destroying monuments, as I understand it. These objects are relics of the past, and they should, and must, be protected, IMO. But if you truly believe that people should be able to free to decide how their communities will commemorate the past, free of government interference, then you should be against this bill.

- Alan
 
That's an incorrect way of putting it.

Many of these confederate memorials were built during the Jim Crow era. African Americans were prevented from giving input on the creation of the cultural and commemorative landscape. So, a separate and unequal memory was created that befitted a separate and unequal society.

Now, African Americans, and northern migrants, AND modern day white Southerners are having a chance to re-examine the landscape and decide what they feel is appropriate for them. Your assumption seems to be that modern day people have no choice but to accept a past interpretation of the past. Well, a lot of people would beg to differ.

This is not about destroying monuments, as I understand it. These objects are relics of the past, and they should, and must, be protected, IMO. But if you truly believe that people should be able to free to decide how their communities will commemorate the past, free of government interference, then you should be against this bill.

- Alan

I think what it really boils down to is people are overly sensitive. Those monuments weren't placed there to slap blacks in the face any more then the Stars and Bars are a symbol of hate. And yes it is erasing history just like the suspension of government funds to the Museum of the Confederacy which was proposed by a black politician.
 

rbasin

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Leave the statues where they are. Then have historians explain why they are there. I am not a fan of the CSA in the least, but it was a part of all our history. And stop building on battlefields!!!
 

AndyHall

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I'm sorry, Andy, but I don't understand your view at all. Many monuments are works of art and are, frankly, history. If they can be relegated to warehouses or such so that those with no sense of history or appreciation for those who have gone before them can impress upon folks the "history" they want them to know simply because they have the power, where does it stop? Battlefields? Cemeteries?

I have, in this subforum been highlighting Civil War Monuments both North and South. I don't want any of them destroyed, defaced or hidden from view because some find history inconvenient and unappealing. In my youth I was very taken with 1984. I've never forgotten one of the quotes there: " Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past."
I should have been more clear. Monuments are historical/cultural/artistic objects in and of themselves. But they should be understood as that, as artifacts of the time and place that created them. Removing a monument doesn't "erase" history, any more than building one creates it.

I have said, elsewhere and in this thread, that I don't really like the idea of removing monuments. But I am absolutely opposed to the state telling local communities that specific monuments must be protected and preserved, at the risk of criminal prosecution, while others are not. It's just as Orwellian for the government to demand protection of a specific type of monument, as to demand destruction of one.
 

ForeverFree

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I think what it really boils down to is people are overly sensitive. Those monuments weren't placed there to slap blacks in the face any more then the Stars and Bars are a symbol of hate. And yes it is erasing history just like the suspension of government funds to the Museum of the Confederacy which was proposed by a black politician.


Why shouldn't I say that you're the one being who is being overly sensitive?

Instead of name-calling or characterizations about how people should or should not feel, I would discuss the rights of local people to determine how their commemorative landscape should look. The people who created the landscape before now did so with the feeling that they had the right to determine the appearance of their communities, and to establish what they should commemorate and celebrate. The people of today should have the exact same right. I do not understand why people who died a hundreds year ago should dictate how the landscape should look today.

Note that, I am absolutely not saying that these memorials should be destroyed. But if the community feels a memorial or monument should be moved to a more appropriate space, or a museum, I feel it is the right of the community to decide. That's the way it's always worked. And that process should include the ability for all sides to present their position about how the landscape should look. That would certainly be more inclusive than it was decades ago.

- Alan

PS: I have visited the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond, I had a good visit, I would favor funding for it and other museum.
 
I should have been more clear. Monuments are historical/cultural/artistic objects in and of themselves. But they should be understood as that, as artifacts of the time and place that created them. Removing a monument doesn't "erase" history, any more than building one creates it.

I have said, elsewhere and in this thread, that I don't really like the idea of removing monuments. But I am absolutely opposed to the state telling local communities that specific monuments must be protected and preserved, at the risk of criminal prosecution, while others are not. It's just as Orwellian for the government to demand protection of a specific type of monument, as to demand destruction of one.

Remove all the monuments and then what next? The grave stones of Confederate veterans.... their museum relics? It goes on and on..... and yes the end result is out of sight out of mind. Can't happen? It is..... history erased.
 
Why shouldn't I say that you're the one being who is being overly sensitive?

Instead of name-calling or characterizations about how people should or should not feel, I would discuss the rights of local people to determine how their commemorative landscape should look. The people who created the landscape before now did so with the feeling that they had the right to determine the appearance of their communities, and to establish what they should commemorate and celebrate. The people of today should have the exact same right. I do not understand why people who died a hundreds year ago should dictate how the landscape should look today.

Note that, I am absolutely not saying that these memorials should be destroyed. But if the community feels a memorial or monument should be moved to a more appropriate space, or a museum, I feel it is the right of the community to decide. That's the way it's always worked. And that process should include the ability for all sides to present their position about how the landscape should look. That would certainly be more inclusive than it was decades ago.

- Alan

PS: I have visited the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond, I had a good visit, I would favor funding for it and other museum.

Name calling? Don't cry when Walmart knocks down a home that was part of the Underground Railroad for another store. Or.... is that not allowed?
 

CMWinkler

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I should have been more clear. Monuments are historical/cultural/artistic objects in and of themselves. But they should be understood as that, as artifacts of the time and place that created them. Removing a monument doesn't "erase" history, any more than building one creates it.


I disagree. Removing a monument very much erases history. Monuments are built and placed where they are for a purpose. Their location tells use the importance those who placed them attributed to them. For example, in Richmond, Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson are on Monument Avenue, a prominent and respected location. Their history would be altered if they were moved from there to say a park on the outskirts of town. It would, very much, erase history.

I have said, elsewhere and in this thread, that I don't really like the idea of removing monuments. But I am absolutely opposed to the state telling local communities that specific monuments must be protected and preserved, at the risk of criminal prosecution, while others are not. It's just as Orwellian for the government to demand protection of a specific type of monument, as to demand destruction of one.

Again, I must, respectfully, disagree. It is hardly Orwellian to protect monuments where they are located. I find all this talk of local sovereignty interesting. These monuments were placed where they were by the local community, at least generally speaking. To suggest the Feds or even the State placed them where they are is an attempt to divert attention from the real issue: the attempt to erase from history things, or at least, remove from sight things that remind some of history they seek to ignore or erase. My Orwell quote was very apt. Removing monuments is very much an effort to shape the future by rewriting the past. I am, categorically opposed to it.
 
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