What Is the Point?

Bill Neinast


What is the point?  Will it ever stop?

The subject in question is the never ending demonstrations and protests.  If the action in San Francisco Friday night does not spur action to curb and eliminate this mere “exercising of our rights,” nothing will.

Three statues no longer stand in the once beautiful, peaceful San Francisco.  They were memorials to General Ulysses S. Grant, Francis Scott Key, and a Catholic Priest.

There has been no explanation, or even a hint, as to what group or groups of Americans believe that Grant, who defeated the forces wanting to keep slavery in parts of America, and Key, who penned a poem that became our national anthem, should be removed from our conscience.

This indicates that there is no common thread among all the raised fists, megaphone speeches, and slogan chanting throughout the land.  It indicates that very few in the mobs throwing rocks at law enforcement officers know why they are demonstrating.

Most will probably claim that they are just exercising their rights of free speech.  That simple statement is proof enough that they do not know what they are talking about.

The First Amendment of our Constitution is more specific than that.  How many of those protestors  know that the right they are claiming has specific limits that are broader than free speech does not give one the right to yell “Fire” in a crowded theatre when there is no fire.

The founders of this great nation had real foresight and included these words in the First Amendment, “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble…” 

Bombarding the police who are trying to maintain order, looting, pillaging, burning, destroying air defacing statues  is not peaceably assembling.

Any act, such as throwing a rock or bottle at the police or counter demonstrators, should be ample justification for the police to disperse the offending gang with any force necessary.

So what is next?  Is Grant’s Tomb in New York safe?

There is an indication that Grant was trashed in San Francisco because his wife had inherited a slave from her father.  So what about those slave owners George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.  Is it good bye to the Washington Monument and every state, county, city, park, and street named Washington?

And what about that other abused minority, the American Indian?  There is already a move to rename the Washington Redskins.  Are the Dallas Cowboys next?  After all, in our racist society, cowboys and Indians was a favorite playtime for kids before video games swept the country.

Indians were always the bad guys who had to be hunted down and killed by the cowboys.  So Big Tex at the fair grounds in Dallas is going to have to be laid to rest in some warehouse.  Someone out there has to be uncomfortable with those cowboy and Indian stories he or she heard as a child, and believes a mere glance at Big Tex will give him nightmares over history.

Now the last shoe to drop is the proposal to drop “The Eyes of Texas” as the University of Texas’ song.

Why?  Because someone thinks it is linked in some way to the old South and slavery. 

This is the first time I have heard that theory, and I have been around for a long, long time.

So here’s the perspective.

The current wave of protests started over four policemen brutally killing George Floyd.  The initial outbursts at the scene of the crime were fully justified and led to quick action to review and modify, as needed, police tactics in major cities.

It appears, though, that initial demonstrations gave a lot of people an opportunity to escape the boredom of sheltering in place.  They thought, “Hey, let’s go out and join the fun..  This is a good excuse to get out of the house.”

So the crowds grew exponentially with thousands marching throughout the world, not just here in the U.S.  It would have been very interesting to have reporters immersed in those crowds and asking hundreds of them what they were protesting.  

A good assumption is that few would be able to give an intelligent explanation of what was going on.

So it is past time to stop.  It is time to quit trying to remove evidence of history, whether good or bad, from our conscience.  



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