Gov. Nathan Deal said at the time that the removal of the Watson statue was only “a safety issue” and that it needed to be moved due to renovations on the steps on that side of the Capitol. In March, the Republican-controlled Georgia state legislature passed a measure sponsored by Rep. Tyrone Brooks to erect a statue to Martin Luther King, Jr. on the grounds of the Georgia State Capitol.
Gov. Deal signed that bill into law in May. Rep. Tyrone Brooks of the Georgia Association of Black Elected Officials, who orchestrated both the removal of the Tom Watson statue and the erection of the new Martin Luther King, Jr. statue, was indicted by a federal grand jury on 30 counts of mail, wire, and tax fraud.
Joeff Davis showed up at the Tom Watson protest and interviewed several of us for a documentary he was making about the story. At the time, I elaborated at length on why we were opposed to the removal of the Watson statue, and I repeatedly said that it wasanother step down a slippery slope in a broader campaign of cultural genocide that would incite further attacks on Southern and Confederate monuments.
“From Confederate Memorial Day to streets named for Ku Klux Klan founders, the state of Georgia should pull the plug on its official support of Confederacy celebrations, say two Valdosta activists in a recent open letter to Gov. Nathan Deal and the entire General Assembly. …
The letter is the brainchild of Mark Patrick George, a Valdosta State University sociologist who runs a project studying a local lynching spree of the early 1900s, and the Rev. Floyd Rose of the Lowndes/Valdosta chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
“We contact you today to respectfully call for an end to the state of Georgia’s endorsement, promotion and support of all Confederate holidays, events, and its management of historic sites and monuments related to the Confederacy. We also call for an immediate change to all state roads and highways currently named for Confederate leaders,” says the letter, sent on June 23.
“Dr. George is an activist sociologist who teaches courses in Race/Class/Gender, Sexuality, and Masculinity Studies. His scholarly attention and community organizing work focuses on antiracist, antisexist, and anti-heterosexist initiatives in the deep South. In addition to his academic pursuits, he serves as the Coordinator for the Mary Turner Project and the Education Committee Chairperson for the Lowndes/Valdosta Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). In his spare time he enjoys gardening, cooking, making documentary films, and canoeing.”
“The fact that oppressions are not only interconnected but overlap and fuel one another is not going away on its own, nor will the fact that many of us are oppressive and destructive because of the sexism, heterosexism, classism, racism, and other “isms” we live out as we do our change work. Therefore, it may be time for us to acknowledge that although we may be oppressed along one social category we can simultaneously be oppressive if we enjoy class, male, Christian, and heterosexual social privilege …
It’s about changing the belief that difference is deviant, something threatening, and something to be feared and squashed. In fact, change efforts typically make the case that this practice drives the oppressive systems we want to change, whether we talk about it in terms of Eurocentricity, monoculturalism, patriarchy, heterosexism, or class exploitation.”
At its core, the opposition is driven by an anti-White, anti-Southern, and anti-Christian animus, which causes leftists to lash out in rage at Confederate monuments. In Mark Patrick George’s case, he is also anti-male, anti-heterosexual, and anti-middle class, which is all part of the same “oppressive system” he “wants to change.”