According to Fox News show host Tucker Carlson, the call to remove Confederate monuments is “a serious and highly organized political movement” with the goal to “end liberal democracy and challenge Western civilization itself…”
Even though we don’t agree very often with Carlson, we do both agree with a portion of what Carlson said about the protestors objecting to Confederate monuments and police violence directed towards Black Americans. College instructors like those at the University of Georgia have helped to awaken younger Americans to the need for true equality and change in our nation; it’s been over 150 years since the slaves were freed, but Black people, indigenous people and people of color are still discriminated against.
However, we disagree with Carlson’s ridiculous, baseless assertion that the goal of this progressive movement is to kill our democracy and civilization. Quite the opposite. The Black Lives Matter movement and the progressives, including many college students like those at UGA marching with them, want us to live up to our vaunted ideals of equal justice for all.
Such was the case in June when student protesters asked for the Broad Street Confederate memorial to be removed from downtown. The Athens-Clarke County Commission agreed at their June 25 meeting. Work began on Aug. 10 to move it to Macon Highway, near Oconee County, where a battle was fought. However, it has not yet been relocated and may be reinstalled in October or November.
UGA students and others in the younger generations have been on the internet for their entire lives. They have the ability to instantly make friends with people from an infinite amount of backgrounds, with different experiences and ideas than their immediate circles. They have had cameras in their pockets for most of their adult lives and can capture every single instance of injustice they find.
Many UGA students are fed up. They have gotten together with local activists and begun to earnestly protest tragedies like Rusten Sheskey shooting Jacob Blake seven times in the back in Kenosha, WI. Protesting for basic equality should not be a political movement, yet student protestors are constantly faced with indifference or ignorance at best, and malice at worst.
Student protesters aren’t trying to end democracy or Western civilization; quite frankly, they are trying as hard to protect it as the generations before them. It’s baffling to assert that the hundreds of thousands of young people peacefully marching in the streets are against democracy. UGA students refuse to accept that trying to change the country into a more inclusive and accepting place is equivalent to seeing its end. If this was true, Western civilization would have ended countless times by now.
Tucker Carlson is a spoiled rich guy from La Jolla, CA, one of a handful of the 50 most affluent cities in the country, according to Business Insider. It’s not surprising that someone raised with that kind of privilege — in a fantasy world setting on the Pacific Ocean — would not understand why the common people, especially struggling, idealistic college students, are upset.
But we Georgians should know better than Carlson. There is a good reason why people are outraged; "driving while Black" stops happen every day in Georgia; if you don’t believe it, ask someone Black.
Our reactionary Governor Kemp pushed through legislation to prevent localities, many of which have majority Black populations, from moving statues of Confederate leaders who endorsed slavery from public grounds. The grounds that these statues reside are maintained by the tax money coming from people of all races, including Black people. Georgia's Black citizens should not have to have their taxes go towards the maintenance of Confederate monuments which are offensive to Black Americans and paint an untrue, unrealistic portrait of the South and why the Civil War was fought.
The Glynn County police and legal establishment conspired to look the other way when a former GA cop murdered Ahmaud Arbery. It’s only months later, after a cell phone recording is finally made public, that the three perpetrators were indicted. I could go on, but you get the point.
The November election is about change, and one change that has been needed for decades is the recognition that this nation has not treated its citizens of color fairly since 1776. Racial tensions and crimes have clearly increased over the past four years and Georgia has one of the worst records. The recent Presidential debate, featuring President Trump refusing to condemn white supremacist groups, further illustrates why we must have change.
We are both glad to see UGA students and the younger generation standing up for what they believe in, pushing for long overdue change. It’s past time for our nation to attempt to finally become the true democracy that most of us envision it being.