Open letter to Rep. Bruce Cozart
I read your response to the Arkansas Times' request for comments about what happened in Charlottesville, Va. It is obvious that you are not well educated on the facts of history surrounding the Civil War. On the other hand, maybe you do know your history, and you are simply sympathetic to the cause of white supremacy. I hope your comments were made out of ignorance, and not out of bigotry, because ignorance can be cured.
Certainly the Civil War was fought for economic reasons, as you said. However, slavery was the foundation upon which the Southern economy was built. I won't go into detail on this matter, but the most superficial perusal of the facts (the actual facts, not "alternative facts") shows that many people in the South, especially plantation-owning elites, believed that black people were put on this planet to serve white people. Just do a little research and you can find evidence that supports this. In other words, it wasn't just about control of the cotton trade, or states' rights.
Mr. Cozart, you also said that monuments and memorials to the Confederacy are part of our history, which we shouldn't be forced to forget. That's interesting, because some people have been asking black Americans to forget their history for a long time. The armed rebellion in which the South took part to keep their slaves is part of our white Southern heritage, but it is also part of black heritage, too, just from a very different perspective. Regardless of what you may believe, those statues were not erected immediately after the war to commemorate the fallen heroes of a noble cause. Those Confederate monuments and memorials were purposely placed in highly visible public places during the era of Jim Crow as a reminder to blacks not to step out of line, and as a way of metaphorically giving the finger to the North. I agree we shouldn't destroy such historical items, but there is a more appropriate way to display them, a way that does not insult an entire segment of our population.
Please share this with fellow legislators who share your views, especially Sen. Jason Rapert. I would send the same message to him, but every time I ask Mr. Rapert to justify his position on matters of any sort he just accuses me of being a non-believer.
R.L. Hutson Cabot
From the web
On the Aug. 31 cover story, "Kids in Isolation: locked away in Alexander" by David Ramsey:
The Arkansas government does not seem capable or interested in protecting the lives of children who are outside of the womb. I have been reading articles from other sources that report the same thing: The majority of Arkansas government has turned a blind eye to the neglect and lack of oversight in the Department of Human Services' youth correctional facilities. Why are there so many horror stories about foster care children and youth correctional facilities in Arkansas? Governor Hutchinson and DHS Director Cindy Gillespie appointed longtime executive staff employee Betty Guhman to be director of Youth Services in July 2016. But I keep reading articles about the Division of Youth Services having problems with staff, funding, abuse, resignations, contract disputes, out-of-state for-profit vendors and a lack of oversight and transparency on the part of DHS and Director Guhman. My opinion is the Arkansas government does not believe in or want to fund rehabilitation programs for anyone. They are cheap about providing the mental and emotional health services that are needed for children that are locked up. They just continue to create mentally ill people that they will eventually lock up in prison. They do not care about human lives if it decreases the money in the general improvement fund. Does the state ever get back the funds that state legislators steal? Sen. Jake Files (R-Fort Smith) goes to work every day at the state Capitol and collects his paycheck. What kind of justice is that? I hate saying these terrible remarks about the state government, but I also get tired of hearing comments from pompous legislators wanting to erect Ten Commandments monuments while they ignore the needs of children in our state. Maybe Rep. Jim Dotson (R-Bentonville) or a church could go hang plaques on the walls of the youth correctional facilities that say "In God We Trust." I bet that would impress the youth that are locked up.
On the Arkansas Blog reporting on Twitter posts criticizing Barack Obama for not going to New Orleans during Katrina and mistaking Condoleeza Rice for Michelle Obama:
I'm proud that we conservatives not only invented fake news ("Obama wasn't born in the U.S."), but continue to improve it, as the "Obama at Katrina" meme shows. As Pontius Pilate said: "What is Truth?"
Ivan the Republican
I pine for a simpler time when we could come together and acknowledge that all the ills of the world were Clinton's fault. "[Poetry] is the lava of the imagination whose eruption prevents an earthquake." — Lord Byron.
On the Arkansas Blog posting on President Trump's decision to overturn President Obama's limitation on providing military surplus, like grenade launchers, to police forces:
Though I can see how bayonets "could" have daily use in roadside trash pickup, I fail to understand why the other items are necessary to quell dozens of WAND members at a vigil. Perhaps a local sheriff could have a good old boy hunting trip with his campaign contributors in a tracked armored vehicle with 50-caliber guns mounted on top. But nothing, nothing, happening in this country can justify its use at all, let alone daily. The thought of weaponized drones in the hands of the federal government in this country, let alone in the hands of the Barney Fifes, is enough to evacuate the bowels of most residents of 71909. Already, there are private companies on the sidelines eagerly waiting to customize former military drones with shotguns, grenade launchers, and bombs for local police. Are we saying that police are so incompetent that they need such weapons to do their job of protecting citizens? Many Americans already fear police. Do you think arming them like invading Stormtroopers is going to dial down that fear? What in this country can justify police having such a lethal arsenal against its own citizens?
In response to an Arkansas Blog post about an article on Democratic Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards that asks the question whether Arkansas Democrats should support support pro-life candidates if they could win more seats:
Hell No! Let them stay in the Republican Party where they belong.
DBI, you are wrong. I'll take a social conservative Democrat like Mark Pryor or Blanche Lincoln over John Bozeman and Tom Cotton every time, and you should also. The same goes for Mike Ross, the Blue Dog Democrat whom many in the party abandoned in 2014. The party has to get back to its economic basis, livable wages for the working man, better health care for all. I hope our new party chairman can find a candidate such as John Bel Edwards to run for governor in Arkansas. I would become an active party member again. Philosophical purity will get a person nowhere in conservative Arkansas if they want to win. I have been preaching that for years.