Statues highlight slavery, not history… and paying to park is… sad

All right, geezer.

“All right, geezer”? When did you turn from Billy Bunter into Del Boy?

When I speak to a pleb, I like to be understood. Understand? So are you going to grab your torch and pitchfork and join the baying horde looking to tear down some statues? Don’t even answer that — I know you are.

Funnily enough, no, but I would like our public monuments to be more about history, less about wankers. Rather than spend eight grand of taxpayer dough scrubbing paint off the wretched thing, which in itself is bloody ridiculous, sod the American-thing and sell these things off. Let people do what they like with them in private. Worship them, for all I care. Then use the dosh to erect public memorials that better reflect historical context. In other words, call the Confederate losers’ bluff. Job done.

How does that call their bluff? Personally, and although I have no long-dead family skin in the Civil War, I have zero opposition to these statues, even if I don’t agree with what these people fought for. It’s about learning and history.

Well, in that case you’re even more clueless than I imagined. As others have said, and as you’re about to learn, it’s not about history so much as about choosing what we celebrate publicly. We may have no skin in the Civil War, but, many people do. Think about it as if your old school knew that whomever you fagged for ritually abused you, and then, because of that abuse, erected a statue in that person’s honour, and then expected you to be cool about it. Does that make it clearer?

I get that, but Confederate leaders were very much products of their time. We’re applying modern ethics and values to people who were not themselves modern. It’s not a fair trade-off. Slavery was very much a socially-accepted concept. We can’t expect them to understand its evil in the same way that we do.

But they knew it was evil, right?

Wrong. It was accepted, even their Bibles told them it was OK. What is acceptable at any time is like shifting sands. We don’t revile the ancient Spartans as pedophiles, even though pederasty was common and socially acceptable, do we?

I don’t buy that when it comes to slavery, and neither should anyone. Throughout time people have known that slavery was wrong, even if it was justified by whatever means possible. How do I know this? Easy. No slave owner, whether ancient European, Aztec or Antebellum plantation owner, would willingly have swapped his lifestyle for that of a slave. Therefore, they all knew it was fucked up. 

I see your point, but I’m not sure how replacing statues changes that.

There were hundreds of thousands of people who fought on the right side of the Civil War and in opposition to institutionalized slavery. Abolitionists, black, Unionist soldiers, Underground Railroaders, slaves themselves. Those are the people we should celebrate, not the people who fought against their own country and led millions to their deaths due to their intransigent racism and willingness to fight for slavery. If they want statues to be about history, make them about history worth celebrating. If they refuse, it’s not about history, is it? There’s the bluff.

I wouldn’t hold your breath waiting for our mayor to take you up on your suggestion. Jim Gray over in Lexington has more guts. Don’t dislike Fischer, but he’s a corporate non-boat-rocker who’s probably hoping that his public forum will delay the need to make a decision long enough for the storm to pass.

I disagree: I think he’ll man up. And at least he’s against killing the goose that laid the golden egg, more commonly known as the Waterfront Park.

I have no beef with charging punters when there’s a major event. If you’re unwilling to pay three bucks toward that cost then you’re a wanker. But… not sure how charging people a buck an hour the rest of the time doesn’t result in far fewer people going there.

It’s what public officials do all over the world — hit on a good thing, and then try to find out how they can extract every last cent out of it. Plus, we’re in a country that doesn’t understand the value of taxation. That said for the political record, the ethical problem is it always disproportionately affects poor people, and for a lot of folks three bucks to park is the difference between going somewhere and not going somewhere. 

True. We’re lucky enough to be able to not give three bucks to park a moment’s thought, but if you live paycheck to paycheck, you’ve probably crossed the Waterfront Park off your list of things you can do and places you can take your children. The park itself won’t close, but it’ll be much emptier. Sad!

Perhaps the organisers of the 150 shindigs there per year will realise how their events are being used to extract money out of those who can least afford it and put together some walks for charity where the parking’s free. Who knows, maybe they might raise enough silver to build a statue to replace Ed Hamilton’s excruciatingly-bad Lincoln.

Ah, what an elegantly mercenary and apposite way to wrap this chin-wag up. Maybe you’re slightly less of a pleb than I give you credit for.