Iconoclasm Comes To Louisville

Thomas McAdam

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The mindless plague of leftist iconoclasm currently sweeping our nation blew into the Bluegrass State this weekend, and with a vengeance.  The city council of Charlottesville, Virginia (home of Tom Jefferson’s University of Virginia), decided to move a venerated equestrian statue of General Robert E. Lee to another location, and a motley collection of Nazis, Klansmen, and assorted skinheads demonstrated in opposition to the move. 

Charlottesville issued the protesters a permit to march around with their torches and flags, then later relented; forcing the ACLU to go into federal court to get a writ for the group to exercise their First Amendment rights.

An equally horrid group of left-wing loonies (mostly Antifa and BLM paid provocateurs) were bused into Charlottesville, and the ensuing melee (observed, but not thwarted, by local police) left one woman dead and scores injured.

Eager to jump in front of this wave of silliness, Lexington Mayor Jim (50 Shades Of) Gray announced on Saturday that he would be moving that city’s confederate monuments to some spot even more invisible to locals and tourists than their current out of the way locations.  This act of modern liberal bravery got Mayor Jim on the front page of The Washington Post, and garnered him more national publicity than he has received since he came out of the closet to run for the Senate against Rand Paul.

Not to be outdone, Louisville’s beloved mayor, Greg Fischer, announced on Sunday that he was appointing a commission to review the placement and possible removal of statues and objets d'art around town that might be giving any sort of offense to Derbytown’s precious snowflakes.

Fischer—who has always been a cure in search of a disease—stated that he wanted to start a “community conversation” to find a solution to a problem nobody even knew existed, until Dr. Ricky Jones came to town with his race-baiting agenda.  "We need to discuss and interpret our history from multiple perspectives and from different viewpoints. That's why a community conversation is crucial," said Hizzhonor, with as close to a straight face as he could muster up for the occasion.

Then, parties unknown (but we suspect you know who) doused General John Breckinridge Castleman’s statue with orange paint.  The old general has been sitting astride his faithful mount, near the entrance to Cherokee Park, for more than a century; beloved by his neighbors, and apparently giving offense to no one. 

But, as the weekend came to a close, a ragtag coalition of Louisville’s Usual Suspects started marching, waving signs, and circulating petitions to remove Castleman, the horse he rode in on, and every other historical symbol in town that might cause them to swoon with the vapors.  The West End commies from The Karl Braden Center marched up Broadway, and even that old lefty Carla Wallace took time away from her menagerie of strange animals out on Rose Island Road to lead this latest crusade against hurt feelings.

Poor Mayor Fischer.  He will doubtless discover that putting the lid back on this can of worms he has opened may prove to be a bit more difficult than anticipated.  If he thinks he can out-pander and out-sissy Jim Gray, he is sadly mistaken.  Gray has years of experience at this sort of thing, and Fischer is a relative newcomer to the field of pusillanimous political posturing.  

The foregoing to the contrary notwithstanding (we lawyers just love using that phrase, even when it’s not really appropriate), we herewith offer some suggestions to our beloved mayor, to arm him with a little historical perspective as he enters into his much-needed “community conversation.”  We agree with him that all symbols and vestiges of bigotry and racist oppression need to be excised from our fair city, and the following are but a mere handful of the more egregious racial insults, left over from the bad old days, which Louisvillians are forced to confront in their daily perambulations:

1.  Statues of slave owners.  Greg Fischer can look out his office window and see the bronze representation of that notorious slave-master and accused interracial-rapist Thomas Jefferson; standing atop an oversized replica of the Liberty Bell.  The fact that this glaring insult to black folk is situated on Jefferson Street, and in Jefferson County, only adds salt to this wound. 

In the rotunda of Metro Hall, Greg can see the life-sized marble statue of slave-master Henry (‘druther be right than president) Clay, and across the street—on the other side of Jefferson (!) Square Park, he can see the bust of the Marquis de Lafayette; another reprehensible slave owner (the marquis was reprehensible, not his slaves).  When Jim Gray finds out that Lexington is located in Fayette County—named after that infamous slaver frog—there will surely be hell to pay.

2.  Streets named after slave owners.  Louisville—perhaps in more innocent times—has named a number of its streets and roads after cruel slave-masters.  The likes of Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Hancock, James Madison, George Washington, Andrew Jackson, Zachary Taylor, Isaac Shelby, John Tyler, Robert E. Lee, William Preston, John C. Breckinridge, and Henry Clay, have their names plastered on street signs all over town:  A slap in the face to every red-blooded American patriot.  (In the case of that old Indian-fighter Andy Jackson, it’s a slap in the face to red-blooded red men also.)

And, speaking of Indians (that’s what Native Americans are calling themselves nowadays), something definitely needs to be done about all of Louisville’s parks which are named after Indian tribes.  Iroquois, Cherokee, Seneca, Shawnee, Algonquin, and Chickasaw Indians—when they weren’t murdering, raping, scalping, and pillaging Louisville’s early settlers—were happy to capture, buy, sell, and generally mistreat slaves of all races.

3.  Lasting tributes to Louisville’s slave-trading families.  The Clark and Speed families, honored founders of our little town by the Ohio River waterfall, were, of course, leading slave-traders.  Revolutionary War hero George Rogers Clark has a street, a park, and a bridge named after him; as well as a larger-than-life statue on the Belvedere.  When he wasn’t slaughtering Indians and enslaving black folks, he took time out to name J-Town after fellow slave-master Thomas J.  Who among us can deny that the name of this miscreant should be erased for posterity?

As for the notorious Speed family, sure, they have been honored by having a street, an art museum, and an Engineering school named after them; but who can possibly ignore the horrors that occurred at their slave-estate, Farmington, located conveniently across the street from Heine Brothers' Coffee Shop, in the Gardiner Lane Shopping Center?  Does Mayor Fischer really want black University of Louisville Engineering students to have to suffer the disrespect and indignity of being assaulted by the ignominious name “Speed,” every time they enter their classroom building?  Okay, so maybe there aren’t really many black University of Louisville Engineering students, but that’s a problem for another day.  (Regardless of what you may have heard, the Speed family—while certainly notorious slave-traders—was in no way connected with the development, production, or distribution of methamphetamine.  I want to clear that up.)

4.  Old Hank Watterson is a case by himself.  The guy who started our local “newspaper,” “Marse Henry” Watterson was a pretty nasty piece of work.  Louisville has named a street, an interstate expressway, and an office park after him; despite the fact that he rode alongside that bloodthirsty confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest, during our Civil War To Protect Slavery.  You will remember that Gen. Forrest, a prominent Democrat, was one of the founders of the Ku Klux Klan.  Watterson won a Pulitzer Prize for writing hateful editorials against good old Kaiser Bill, right before Judge Bingham fired him and made his boy Barry editor of The Courier-Journal.  If you don’t believe me, you can google “famous Louisville racists.”

5.  Miscellaneous racists.  Founding Father Sam Chase was a Maryland slave-owner, and started a bank which later merged with The House of Morgan.  There are numerous branches of Chase Bank all around Louisville, and their ubiquitous signage is a painful reminder of chattel-slavery and man’s inhumanity to man.  Can nothing be done about this?

Finally, there’s the problem of Spalding University.  Originally Nazareth College, and then, later, Catherine Spalding College, the school is named after the founder of Kentucky’s Sisters of Charity, M0ther Catherine Spalding.  And, you guessed it, M0ther Catherine and her little order of nuns owned Negro slaves.  Sure, they subsequently kicked the habit, but what reasonably sensitive person can drive past Spalding’s campus without hearing the faint crack of the overseer’s whip?

So, my advice to Mayor Fischer is--now that he has uncovered this festering wound of bigotry and hatred, here in the heart of our wonderful and formerly peaceful little city by the river--he needs to eschew his customary half-assed approach to problem solving.  Forget about our opioid epidemic, our economic stagnation, our failing school system, our rotten sewer system, our potholed streets, our decrepit infrastructure, and all those dead bodies littering the streets of our West End.  He needs to devote his attention 24/7 to this new and previously unknown crisis.  He needs to stamp out all remaining symbols and vestiges of racial intolerance and injustice.  He needs to create another committee.





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