In 1978, a bust commemorating one of the spiritual fathers of the contemporary Republican Party, Confederate general and Klan Grand Wizard, was installed in the Tennessee capitol building. Tennessee Republicans are making it their top priority to protect the beloved monument to white supremacist terrorism:
Forty-three years later, the effort to remove the bust has some state Republicans grinding every bureaucratic lever at their disposal to a halt, the latest in a long line of fights on the general’s behalf. This week, several Republicans backed a bill to sack members of a historical commission that voted to remove the bust.
Larry McCluney, commander-in-chief of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, thinks the solution is simple: those offended by the Forrest’s likeness should simply look away.
“We’re dealing with a time period now where everybody is offended by something,” McCluney told TPM. “They talk about the issues of slavery, racism, white supremacy — well, you know, our nation has a history of that, and it’s been around a lot longer than people realize.”
Nowadays, it’s a bit more difficult for elected Republican politicians to stick up for Forrest, whose presence in the capitol is at the center of the fight over the legislation to replace the historical commission.
“I don’t know that it’s specifically related to the three statues that are up on the second floor, but that could be the motivation behind it,” Lt. Gov. Randy McNally (R) told reporters Thursday when asked about the bill.
“But overall, not looking at the motivation, I think it’s a good thing,” he added.
It’s about Heritage, not Hate — why this has been a historical tradition extending all the way back to the Carter administration!
I assume the next move will be to put busts of more people who reflect the principles of Tennesee Republicans in the capitol: John Calhoun, Roger Taney, Pitchfork Ben Tillman, James McReynolds, George Wallace, Byron De La Beckwith — might as well present the full spectrum.