This morning, I joined Joy Reid on MSNBC’s AM Joy to discuss Confederate monuments, and particularly the one in Tallahassee. Just a few days ago, we called on Governor Rick Scott to remove that monument from the Old Florida Capitol immediately, and have been met with a disappointing silence. My leading GOP opponent Adam Putnam claimed he didn’t know about the monument — what a luxurious place to be.
Growing up in the South, I am well aware of our complicated history with race and the Civil War. There isn’t a day that I don’t drive behind a car with a Confederate flag. Confederate monuments dot the lawns of our Courthouses, town centers, and even the grounds of the Florida Capitol.
Because of how common our encounters are with these symbols, many of us have had to convince ourselves that they don’t matter. We tell ourselves that a flag or a statute, regardless of how demeaning in its display, can’t harm us or keep us from reaching our life goals.
Our fear is that if we pause long enough to internalize their message, maybe we’d grow hopelessly frustrated by our seeming inability to change things.
But Charlottesville changed things — these “harmless” symbols have been weaponized and an innocent life was lost pushing back against Neo-Nazis and racists who have rallied around these vestiges of the the Confederacy.
I don’t know about you, but this is not the battle I imagine for my children or yours. Let’s put these symbols where they belong — in history. Let’s never forget what happened and commit to never allow it to happen again.