Ugly statues, and ugly statutes

I wasn’t born in Nashville, but I grew up here. I consider this my hometown, and I am embarrassed each time I drive on I-65 south and see this monstrosity. I’m embarrassed because the the message, no matter how strained and spinned, is one of racism. Forrest was a great cavalry-man and leader in the Civil War, but if you scratch the surface here (and I how I wish I COULD scratch and deface this surface) we are talking about the KKK and the man who founded that ugly organization.

This ugly, idiotic statue is an unworthy city-greeter to those who travel from the south. I hope that most people laugh and understand that most of us here do not appreciate the message or the esthetic value of racist kitsch.

Now we have a statute that seems just as ugly. Councilman Crafton’s proposed statute that all Metro publications and communications be printed and rendered in English is not representative of the city I love. Can anyone explain why this law is necessary? Are we trying to save publication costs?

I’m sorry, but the spirit of this statute is nativist, narrow-minded and mean. Nobody is saying that non-English people who live here shouldn’t learn English. Our schools are teaching english to these kids.

But, as I’ve asked before, what problem are you trying to solve here? I live here, work downtown, and know a lot about our town. Where are english-speaking people threatened? Where is our language maligned?

The truth here is that people are feeling threatened by illegal immigration, and for God’s sake, we HAVE TO DO SOMETHING. Instead of thinking through the entire problem and realizing there are no simplistic solutions, let’s DO SOMETHING. I know, let’s put up thinly veiled racists business signs, let’s make sure that our Spanish neighbors who are here because we are hiring them feel second-class.

How about proposing a bill that would give adults more access to english classes. How about working with Hispanic leaders to forge a solution that is not an ‘us against them’ plan, such as the non-starter Crofton ideas.

Or, maybe we could replace Nathan Bedford F. with a statue of Eric Crofton…or alternate them on a weekly basis…greeting our visitors with a double-headed message of cynicism, prejudice and nativism.



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3 responses to “Ugly statues, and ugly statutes

  1. As always, very well said, I totally agree. 🙂

  2. Vic

    Can someone design a statue that makes Eric Crafton look like the Hamburgler too?

    Gail Kerr had an excellent opinion column on this yesterday.

  3. purple star

    I so agree! I have to drive past that horrible statue every day and it is disgusting! Thanks for the actual suggestions for taking action – action that really could make a difference in a positive way. Keep on writing John!

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