- The supposedly sober and steady governing low-tax conservatism of Charlie Baker and Speaker DeLeo has hit a major pothole: A credit downgrade — the first in 27 years. Didn’t refill the rainy day fund. You have to wonder if Baker is privately hoping for the Fair Share ballot question to pass — would relieve a little pressure, wouldn’t it?
- Teaser: I talked to Boston City Council District 1 candidate Lydia Edwards on Friday. We talked about creative approaches to housing, homelessness, social mobility. I’m in the process of writing it up — you’ll see it soon.
- Remember that the Senate is actually quite close to taking away health care from tens of millions of people — without a hearing, without a CBO score. How can they possibly be proud of such an act? If it seems like a lot of things are getting broken, remember that apparently people voted for breaking things.If you happen to know people in Nevada, West Virginia, Ohio, Tennessee, Arkansas, Louisiana, etc — lean on ’em to call:
Don’t just call Congress—recruit callers. Type “Friends in Tennessee” into Facebook. You’ll get a list. Ask ’em to call Sen. Alexander. 15/ pic.twitter.com/wqIJom1Qs6
— Ben Wikler (@benwikler) June 8, 2017
- Adam Reilly of WGBH asked us (and Red Mass Group) for opinions on a Confederate memorial placed in 1963 on Georges Island in Boston Harbor.
“The [Civil War] centennial, for Americans, was not an attempt to get at the causes and consequences of the war,” Levin said. “The centennial was about the brave white soldiers on both sides who died for their respective causes.”“I think it’s best understood as a marker,” he added. “It doesn’t engage in the kind of flourish … that you’ll find on other Confederate monuments from early in the 20th century. This is just, ‘These men were prisoners here, 13 of them died.’”Still, some of the memorial’s details might raise eyebrows. For example, it describes the Civil War as the “War Between the States,” a phrase favored by defenders of the Confederacy for the extra legitimacy it confers.
The memorial also boasts the Confederate seal and the Confederate motto, “Deo Vindice,” Latin for “With God as our defender.”
I am not opposed to recognizing an intriguing piece of history of the harbor. I’m not opposed to remembering the soldiers who were imprisoned, even as they fought for an odious cause. They were human beings; even monstrous causes are furthered by human beings.
I am suspicious of a sanctimony that distances us from bad things and bad guys. Our own contemporary evil may be more banal, but it exists. We were on the right side of that particular history, but we still accept evils of racial caste inequality, unequal justice, unequal health care, imprisonment and segregation that should be unthinkable. We can make an anti-slavery statement in such a place, but the satisfaction we feel at the virtue and sacrifice of our forebears make for a cheap grace.
The seal and the motto are propaganda (as are all such). They are equivalent to a Confederate flag, even though they’re less widely recognized today. They portray the Confederacy as something noble and respectable. Even if it whispers instead of screams, the message is intentional, and it shouldn’t go unanswered.
Perhaps another marker could historicize and give the background of the 1963 marker itself, as related in Adam Reilly’s story. (That would be very Boston: History becomes historiography, on site.)
Or we could just replace it outright with a new marker: Something simple, factual, humane and specific — stripped of propaganda, either Confederate or our own. I have no objection to naming the dead. We don’t have to dignify the cause they fought for.
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