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After Virginia violence, governor denounces hate, says Arkansas' Confederate monuments should stay up

By Emma Pettit

This article was published August 17, 2017 at 1:35 p.m.

gov-asa-hutchinson-speaks-to-reporters-from-the-little-rock-marriott-hotel-on-friday-aug-11

Gov. Asa Hutchinson speaks to reporters from the Little Rock Marriott Hotel on Friday, Aug. 11.


After a deadly weekend ignited by a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., Gov. Asa Hutchinson stated that racism must be “rejected,” adding that he’s against dismantling Confederate monuments erected in Arkansas.

White supremacists and neo-Nazis descended on the Virginia town to object to the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue Friday. The move sparked violent clashes over the weekend and led to the death of a 32-year-old counter-protester.

Heather Heyer, 32, was killed Saturday when a man drove into a crowd. James Alex Fields, 20, of Ohio was arrested in the slaying.

Following the attack, many restarted efforts to remove Confederate monuments from public places. The city of Baltimore removed statues during early Wednesday, The New York Times reported.

Some Arkansans echoed the sentiment. Ozark Indivisible, a group in northwest Arkansas, launched an online petition to remove a tribute to a Confederate soldier in downtown Bentonville. It's gotten a few thousand signatures so far.

In a Wednesday statement, Hutchinson denounced hatred, saying the “whole concept of white supremacy or neo-nazi dogma must be rejected at every turn.” He added that when it comes to monuments, history cannot be undone.

“We should not start taking down monuments just because they remind us of an unpleasant past,” Hutchinson said.

“Refusing to face our history by dismantling it is a mistake. We should use our historical markers as teaching opportunities to provide greater leadership for the future.”

The governor said learning from the past was also his aim in advocating for legislation that separated the celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Robert E. Lee Day.

Dozens of statues commemorating the Confederacy dot the state, including the Confederate Soldiers Monument, also known as Defense of the Flag, on state Capitol grounds. A bronze angel holds a wreath aloft while a Confederate soldier stands below.

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Tigermule says... August 17, 2017 at 1:42 p.m.

Good points made by the guv

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richlin04211114 says... August 17, 2017 at 1:47 p.m.

He is right. If we don't understand where we have been, then how do we determine our future?

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TimberTopper says... August 17, 2017 at 2:16 p.m.

Doing his best to keep a lid on the problem.

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DoubleBlind says... August 17, 2017 at 2:18 p.m.

He's talking from both sides of his mouth in an attempt to appease everyone. Confederate monuments overtly honor racism, oppression and white supremacism. They should be re-homed to places where they can be appreciated in a historical context and avoided by those who are offended by them.

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RBear says... August 17, 2017 at 2:30 p.m.

Monuments are not history. You don't learn from a monument, especially one that honors those who fought to preserve slavery. Why is this so freakin' hard to understand? They are also rallying points for white supremacists.

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RolandIrwin says... August 17, 2017 at 2:55 p.m.

It's hard to understand because it's an argument based on emotion, not rational or logical thinking.

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RBear says... August 17, 2017 at 3 p.m.

Roland, the rational thoughts are to remove them. There is no valid reason to keep them. Statues are not history.

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lkec2re says... August 17, 2017 at 3:31 p.m.

Why do white supremacists/KKK revere Robert E. Lee and statues about a lost civil war over human slavery?

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mrcharles says... August 17, 2017 at 5:11 p.m.

So they are history not symbols of racist dogma. Hummmmm? Guess that shows how stupid the trash and thugs in Va that ralled around the general who turned against his country and killed soldier of the USA army. Kinda like nazis did. Been around the USA a little bit but have yet to see any statutes of history showing nazis killing USA soldiers.

I suggest we put up TV's with video screens that tell the story of the history and people can scan through various photos and videos to study history. It can be done in cubicles where no one can see if you get off admiring right wing terrorist and thugs and trash and KKK and white supremacist. but you can admire that sacred concept of history and at the same time descent people do not have to look at traitors and those who supported evil done to their fellow man. It is not about the statute, it is just we want more history for these history buffs than a chunk of stone that some, not all, love to look at and feel satisfied that blacks have to endure knowing the haters still have power. We can move on with history if statutes are left up with Saul killing amalakite children statutes, vikings killing and raping , the conquistadors baptizing babies before bashing their heads in, the death throes of Cherokees during the trail of tears, and on and on, with not forgetting Satan statutes so children know the history of religion . Every one can get a cute little lawn jockey to remind us of the great history of the negro race's involvement with horses, such history there!. Oh, almost forgot statute of Gen Custer being killed and mutilated to give us history , and perhaps Mormons doing some of the things they did.

Asa , me, I would just be content of a statute showing history of whites killing lots of blacks in Elaine, well, you know to show us history. A good lynching statutes on the capital grounds would be history to young children to show history of the good old days. And where are the historical Hitler statues, the historical Himmler statutes? the historical concentration oven
statutes? History is so funny. The argument could be made they are still there to show how repugnant their admirers are today, The apple doesnt fall too far from the tree.

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23cal says... August 17, 2017 at 5:12 p.m.

I kind of like what New Orleans mayor Mitch Landrieu had to say about taking down their statues:
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These statues are not just stone and metal. They are not just innocent remembrances of a benign history. These monuments purposefully celebrate a fictional, sanitized Confederacy; ignoring the death, ignoring the enslavement, and the terror that it actually stood for.
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After the Civil War, these statues were a part of that terrorism as much as a burning cross on someone’s lawn; they were erected purposefully to send a strong message to all who walked in their shadows about who was still in charge in this city.
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To literally put the confederacy on a pedestal in our most prominent places of honor is an inaccurate recitation of our full past, it is an affront to our present, and it is a bad prescription for our future.
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History cannot be changed. It cannot be moved like a statue. What is done is done. The Civil War is over, and the Confederacy lost and we are better for it. Surely we are far enough removed from this dark time to acknowledge that the cause of the Confederacy was wrong.
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And in the second decade of the 21st century, asking African Americans — or anyone else — to drive by property that they own; occupied by reverential statues of men who fought to destroy the country and deny that person’s humanity seems perverse and absurd.
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Centuries-old wounds are still raw because they never healed right in the first place.

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