Dead Confederates, A Civil War Era Blog

Protest #FAIL

Posted in Memory by Andy Hall on January 20, 2012

News comes today that the well-known Texas SCV billboard (right) on Highway 290, near Chappell Hill, has had a noose affixed to it.

“I think it’s very disrespectful. It’s not right,” said Jeff, a utility worker.

A Chappell Hill business man, who is also a lifetime member of Sons of Confederate Veterans personally donated the billboards to the national SCV organization. He alerted authorities Wednesday afternoon after noticing a noose dangling from the confederate [sic.] flag.

“My great grandfather fought in the confederate war, and several peoples grandparents’ fought in the confederate war. Yes we know the war was between the North and the South and it was over slavery, but that’s, I mean that’s ridiculous,” added Jeff.

How the noose got there is one question authorities are trying to figure out — but more importantly — why?

“They had to do some serious climbing to get up there to tie that up and drape it on the side,” added Jeff.

The Washington County Sheriff’s Department is investigating this as a case of “criminal mischief,” while the local SCV is calling it vandalism. As with the recent case in Richmond, Virginia, where persons unknown attached home-made historical “plaques” to the fencing around several Confederate monuments, I’m unconvinced this case is outright vandalism, which to me requires actual physical damage to be done. As in Richmond, there’s no indication of that happening here.

But otherwise, this case sure has FAIL written all over. The intent — I guess — is to equate the SCV, or Confederate heritage efforts generally, with lynching and racial terrorism. Those latter things are damn deadly serious, and their long history in this country is often willfully ignored by the heritage crowd, but the connection here is awfully tenuous. The home-made plaques in Richmond were carefully thought out and had a clear point; they counterpoised historic African Americans against the Confederate heroes being honored by the monuments. By comparison, this is just angry and unfocused, a gesture that’s dramatic, but also clichéd.

Candidly, I have an appreciation for smart, well-executed (as opposed to merely loud) protest, even when I don’t agree with the cause being advocated. Tossing up a noose on a billboard, late at night, leaving motorists driving between Houston and Austin to try to make some vague association between the SCV and lynching, doesn’t cut it. Try harder next time.