Recently, Texas House Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, kicked up more dust in the Confederate monument debate.
Last week he said the Confederate plaque on the Capitol grounds is misleading.
“Confederate monuments and plaques are understandably important to many Texans. But it is important that the historical information displayed on the Capitol grounds is accurate and appropriate,” he said. “The Children of the Confederacy Creed plaque on the first floor of the Capitol does not meet this standard. The plaque says that the Civil War was not an act of rebellion and was not primarily about slavery. This is not accurate, and Texans are not well-served by incorrect information about our history.”
In making these comments, he has presented Texans with yet another opportunity to have a thoughtful discussion about how we remember the past. But the odds are, we are all going to continue to yell at each other.
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The Confederate statue debate had been divisive. And the complicated question, “what part of history do you keep?” will be difficult to resolve easily.
It has sparked impassioned responses from a significant number of people, and it puts city councils all over the state between a rock and hard place.
Dallas voted to remove the Robert E. Lee statue from Lee Park and a backlash followed. The whole ordeal took too long, was expensive and ultimately made people more frustrated.
We live in a time where everyone wants to bang on their chests to make their point known. That can be effective at ensuring one is heard, but a quiet, reasoned discussion is almost always the better option.
It would be something to consider with the ongoing conversations in Fort Worth and beyond.
Calm contemplation and discussion is being seen as negative, but we can change that narrative.
It’s OK to ask the question “Does this historical monument/leader/name need to change?” and allow people to discuss it reasonably.
Let’s do that in Fort Worth, as with Jefferson Davis Park. The discussion on the park’s possible name change could come up at a Parks and Recreation Advisory Board meeting as early as next week.