I live in a Southern town. An OOOOOLD Southern town. That was a base for Confederate blockade runners during the Civil War. And also had major race riots in 1898.
But this is 2007. People have [for the most part, I hope] wised up, grown up, and gotten less ignorant. I can sit with one of my best friends, who happens to be black, in a restaurant, or walk down the street hugging him, or whatever, and get no sidelong glances.
Our town is pretty progressive-seeming, gay-friendly, multi-cultural, etc. etc.
But then, there is the statue.
Oh, the statue.
I’d heard people discussing it years ago in college after someone rammed into it with their car during a bout of idiotic driving.
I didn’t know details and, frankly, didn’t care that much.
But, last week on my way downtown to go to work, I took a different route and passed by the statue.
The light turned red, I was a few cars back, so I had a chance to study this monument that sits, quite precariously, actually, on the median of one of downtown’s busiest streets.
Now, I was pretty sure the statue had something to do with the confederacy. I thought maybe the daughters of the confederacy had something to do with it.
But what I didn’t know was that the statue depicts some war hero’s right arm held straight out above his head, fingers slightly curled, but almost as an afterthought.
As in, the gesture basically looks like he’s “Sig Heil”-ing our entire downtown area.
And what’s worse: no one else seems to notice this or say “Hey, couldn’t you have made a statue that looks a little less like Hitler? I mean, we have enough trouble convincing people we’re not backwards and hate-filled idiots as it is.”