Like everyone else, I suppose, I’ve been reading all the pros and cons for removing the Talbot Boys Statue. In the interest of objectivity, I’m not a Talbot County native, we moved to this beautiful area 12 years ago upon retirement. As many of our friends, we did not even know about the statue, or its location, until a couple of years ago. To say it was a “non-issue” absent the current National chaos would be a gross understatement.
At 79 years of age, I’ve traveled through much of the USA and some of the European world. There are statues and monuments all over the place. As I see them, they are recognition pieces to individuals or events of the era depicted. They say nothing about contemporary, 21st century life, and for the most part, I’m glad of it. But I recognize that in some far off time, in a society none of us today can relate to, someone paid to recognize those people/events depicted. So be it. To me, they are little more than headstones in a cemetery placed to honor loved ones by the family. For those of us living in the 21st century to put words in the mouths of people who died one hundred years ago or more, is not only ludicrous, it’s an inappropriate use of something long gone to propagate a position one favors today. That’s wrong, plain and simple.
As I see it, in the Talbot Boys Statue case, we have two groups trying to use the presence of an old statue to beat the drums of a current situation. One, led by the far left, BLM, progressive coalition/mentality say this statue stands for slavery, racism and injustice to the black population—hence it must go. We have seen a small group of far left clergy supporting the movement, some individuals promoting coalition/groups, demonstrations on justice issues, protests against police brutality, all somehow tied to or implied emanating from the Talbot Boys Statue. Hence, the evil thing must go.
On the other side, we have a largely subdued (so far) conservative coalition of Talbot County citizens, white people mainly, who point to the statue’s historical heritage. It was paid for by private funds, as I understand it, and erected over 100 years ago. I have not delved into why it was placed on County land. I do know some people whose ancestors are named on the monument. From those I have talked to, they see it as a historic monument only, far from any 21st century “mission statement” to anyone. They resent being intimidated by the first group or labeled as racists, and many I know are solid Christian citizens and benefactors of our County and the Town of Easton.
To me, legitimate, peaceful protests over injustice of any type in the USA is not only justified but appropriate under our Constitution. Destruction of our Country and anarchy are not. If removal of the Talbot Boys Statue is deemed part of that protest by those proposing to do so, then I believe honest and truthful questions must be asked about what the protests are about. Is it the horrific killing of George Floyd? If so, why were protests not mounted on the equally horrific killing of Mr. Cassidy, a white man, at the Easton YMCA by a black man with a long criminal record? Do issues of “moral responsibility and behavior” and “ethical Christian living” have any part in the protests? What about the Antifa agenda to destroy the USA and create a socialist state? Is that part of why the Talbot Boys Statue must go in the protesters views? I do not have the answers to those questions but I do believe an honest and truthful effort to find them weighs on whether or not the Talbot Boys Statue is a “Real Issue.”
In fact, many prominent black leaders concerned about inequality and justice have raised similar questions. I would refer all to Mr. Robert Woodson, a renown and recognized Civil Rights leader and the Rev. James David Manning (www.atlah.org). Or, the horrific black on black murder rates devastating some cities, like Chicago last weekend, where a beautiful 3 yr. old black boy was shot to death. As a wise black man in that community said—“where are the 40-50,000 protestors seeking justice for that little boy?” (Maybe they don’t have a statue). In addition, Ian Duncan’s (Baltimore Sun) analysis “Race—The Real Truth” is an enlightening read as a primer for an honest and truthful analysis of the current situation which one might suspect has some part in pushing for removal of the Talbot Boys Statue.
For me, whether the Statue goes or stays doesn’t matter much. Its presence or lack thereof solves nothing. Either way, I don’t think it is an issue for the County Council to decide; the people of Talbot County should decide by their votes. Our little County is a Democratic Republic—the government answers to us, not vice versa. I give Councilman Divilio some credit for his rendering of a new, joint Union/Confederate Statue if the people vote for it, although he needs to acknowledge Rich Merrill as the author/originator of the proposal.
But the most important takeaway to me from all of this is, ‘yes, there is a better way.’ Councilwoman Price has demonstrated it time and again. As she stated; “Decisions must not be made on the emotion of the day—We must take the time to listen to everyone and gather all the facts.” No wonder she garnered the most votes in the last Council election. There are many ways all of us in this beautiful County can address any issue—but grandstanding and shooting from the hip are not among them. Some say “silence is violence;” I say “silence is Christian compassion in action” without looking for a photo op. Thousands perform it daily. Civility, honesty and respect for each other, regardless of race, religion or ethnic background, is where it begins and ends, and no statue anywhere, from anytime, has anything to do with that,
Paul D. Denton