GENERAL BEN HARDIN HELM CAMP #1703
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200th Anniversary Year
250px-jefferson_davis_portrait.jpg
President Jefferson F. Davis 1808--2008

 

The Fight to Save the Jefferson Davis Statue Marches On

The results we were looking for yesterday (June 7) failed to materialize, but our effort was strong, coming only one (turncoat) vote short of the protection for the Jefferson Davis statue in the capitol rotunda.

The day started well, with a strong turnout of about 30 SCV and UDC folks taking off from work to be at the 1 pm meeting at the Boone National Guard center in Frankfort. Things got better when David Morgan, Kentucky's historic preservation officer who is opposed to preserving the Davis and Lincoln statues, was replaced as the commission chairman by Gen. Beavers, who has strongly supported protecting the statues. After some reports on other preservation projects, things seemed to look up for our side when Gen. Shane moved that the commission reconsider the applications for Davis and Lincoln. In the discussion on the motion Gen. Shane said he would consider it a "tragedy" if the commission didn't protect the statues.

Then things started getting muddled when Gen. Storm gave one of the poorest excuses for a "reason I'm a fence-sitter" speeches I've ever heard. It was incomprehensible, rambling and self-contradictory. You always know, though, when someone starts a speech by saying "it's not about political correctness" that it is absolutely, 100% about political correctness, but we're going to go through an oral exercise in verbal misdirection and apologetics to see if anyone can be fooled into believing that it's not about political correctness. It definitely didn't look good when Storm started saying he didn't want to offend anyone. Apparently those of us in the room aren't included in "anyone."

Gen. Storm's soliloquy was so incoherent that there was still some question which way he would go when it came time to vote. Kent Whitworth - whose argument that the statues weren't "military" was not bought by other members of the commission (even Storm) - was barely audible with his "no" vote, as was Morgan's "no" vote. Whitworth and Morgan know what they're doing - betraying the trust of their positions by bowing to political pressure from their bosses. It was obvious that they were not very proud of what they were doing, nor very comfortable doing it in front of the witnesses we had assembled. Shane and Beavers voted for protection, leaving it up to Storm. Who then spat upon the intent of the law and every one of us who have worked these years to make this protection happen. Storm voted with us a year ago, but someone got to him, just as they "got" to David Morgan and Kent Whitworth.

Afterwards there was great emotion from our folks, and concern for what we do next. We basically have two choices; we can continue to work "quietly" within the system, or we can try to become the noisiest pain in the neck for every politician and bureaucrat involved. I've done it both ways - sometimes working quietly is best, but sometimes the people in the "system" continue to encourage you to keep it quiet only because they truly fear you becoming noisy. I'll consult with Cmdr. Hiter and take input from the delegates in Georgetown next week on how the division generally wants to approach things.

We will see what can be done in the legislature this January to change the composition of the commission - if we can't get Whitworth and Morgan off, then let's get some "civilian" representatives added to the commission to keep them outvoted. We will also resubmit the application - we can do that over and over again. I will explore legal options (actually, have done some of that already), but they may not be in our favor. If we decide the time has come to get noisy, then we will be looking at protests, "flyovers," PACs, etc. like have been done so effectively in Georgia. We do not have any money with which to do this (though I would hope some would come forward); we could also ask the national SCV for support, similar to what was done in Gettysburg.

While the politics of what was done to us is disheartening, I was very encouraged by our showing, resolve and emotion. I want to thank everyone who made the journey to Frankfort - we all had much better things to do than watch cowardice in action - and while I didn't get a chance to speak with everyone there, please know how deeply I appreciated your efforts. This is one battle in a long war, and the only way we lose is if we give up.


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