The mayor of New Orleans has recently found several nuisances in the city. These “nuisances” are, of course, the demonizingly declared Confederate monuments. They have been found to be causing great discord in the city.
Two months ago, there was no problem, but today is a very different story. This mayor, and this mayor alone, has decided that he suddenly knows what’s best for everyone else.
Ironically, this mayor has put forth the preparation for our 300th anniversary as a reason to clear the city of these disgraces. So, in order to appropriately celebrate 300 years of existence, we are going to remove iconic landmarks that have been erected during those 300 years and have stood for the entire lifetimes of every living New Orleanian.
He has also put forth that Gen. Robert E. Lee had no significant ties to this city. Among others, neither Martin Luther King, a hero to blacks, nor Jose Marti, a hero to Cubans, have any ties to New Orleans, yet their statues don’t seem to be a problem for this mayor. The excuses are weak and contrived for someone who is simply looking to justify an arrogant I-know-better-than-everyone-else and I-want-to look-like-a-hero opinion.
How significant that this mayor and City Council believe they are that during a two-month period in 2015 they can decide what they believe to be important for the past and future of this city. What unbelievable hubris it takes to presume they have the historical authority to make this decision on a whim! They see themselves as wise enough to know how past and future generations would view these landmarks.
Fifty years ago, the Canal Street streetcars were seen as nuisances and removed. That turned out to be a short-sighted decision by short-sighted people that could fortunately be rectified. Do these current politicians presume to know how the New Orleanians of 2050 will look upon this knee-jerk action?
In this age of reality TV, pretending that things are true makes them true. We are being asked to pretend that removing these landmarks meaningfully improves someone’s life, gets someone a job, gets someone an education, prevents a murder, repaves a street or just harmonizes the whole city. In fact, what we citizens are really pretending is that the current mayor and City Council are not resorting to cheap, self-aggrandizing stunts that put their personal opinions during the summer of 2015 above the entire past, present and future of the city of New Orleans.