This is probably a letter that doesn't need to be written, for it will cause more consternation amongst the white-haired class in Gonzales than is necessary. Besides, President Obama did a good job of that over eight years. But I've been eagerly waiting for someone to call into question the validity of naming a huge swath of downtown real estate “Confederate Heroes Square” with a rebel monument standing silent sentry over the businesses below.
For a little history, the downtown Confederate monument was erected around 1912 by one of those organizations that dabbles in Southern pride and spilled milk. And just recently, the statue went through a thorough cleaning, removing bird droppings from the Rebel soldier up top. Proof that some people won't let a losing conflict die, but somehow the birds know better.
Flash forward to today and there's a new war a-brewing over cities rights to remove these statues that lionize the losing side of a war fought to preserve slavery, not state sovereignty. Over in New Orleans, leaders have decided to bring four statues down, starting with one that memorialized a white supremacist uprising, and the most recent — Jefferson Davis — whose presidency is no doubt held in higher regard than Obama's amongst some. The next two scheduled for removal are ones of P.G.T. Beauregard and Gen. Robert E. Lee.
For a town that is built and marketed on Texas history, why use the most prominent space in town to honor a rebel faction that waged treason against the United States of America? Why does the Confederate monument rise high between two government buildings and the entertainment district while Texas Heroes Square exists on the fringe, its soldier flanked by only two blocks of business while he looks forlornly toward Dairy Queen?
Sure, the Immortal 32 have their own monument and reflecting pool, but how often does the Chamber of Commerce have to give detailed directions to tourists searching for it? Imagine what people think when they come looking for the cannon and instead find Johnny Reb. Sensible souls might just take their business down the road to Cuero, where the only turkeys they honor are the real kind.
Where are the statues to the real heroes of war? Where's George Washington (hello, DAR). Where's the venerable Sam Houston (looking at you, DRT). Gonzales can't get its act together to build a veteran's park and World War II memorial, but it can scrape poop off of a Confederate soldier that fought against America? If we are so keen on remembering warriors, where's the monument to Santa Ana, another general who fought against “northern aggression?”
Over in the Big Easy, the chaplain of the Sons of Confederate Veterans crowed that a “war on Southern heritage is raging.” He really needs to find a new war to fight, because his side lost 154 years ago.
Watch for an uptick in heartburn medication being sold from Mohrmann's this week. If a protest ever gathers to “save Southern heritage” downtown, I'm gonna grab some popcorn at the Lynn and watch the show.