Long-Dead Rebel Generals

A statue of Sul Ross stands on the Academic Plaza of Texas A&M in College Station on Aug. 23, 2017. Ross was a Civil War general in the Confederate Army, Texas' 19th governor and a president of the university. Photo by Shelby Knowles for The Texas Tribune

All those long-dead Rebel generals
should be knocked right off of their pedestals —
that’s one thing with which you may agree.

Southern parks and other public places
should be voided of all traces
of Stonewall, Jeb, and Robert Lee.

If fascists and supremacists
are their primary apologists
and then you toss in the KKK,

you’ve got to think there’s reason —
especially throwing in the treason —
that these totems have had their day.

But I’d like to ask some questions —
maybe too minor to mention —
before we take all these statues down.

Tell me, since I don’t know,
do these idols sneak up to Chicago
and shoot up that already bloody town?

Do these effigies rear up and saunter
to toss more lead in Flint’s dirty water
or do they just stay put down there in the South?

And did they help mad Kim Jong Un
perfect his really big ka-boom
or was that done without Confederate help?

Are these manikins breaking into sweats
adding billions to our national debt?
Don’t they just hang out in the broiling sun?

And do they advise our chief commander
about how to tweet new slanders
or are they more adept at keeping mum?

So, unless bronzes keep falling
is our nation’s progress stalling?
Do we need to lose more of our marbles to heal?

Because like most issues we face today
it’s less black or white than gray,
although I know how good it feels to squeal

about how magnificent our virtue is
that we can be just like our friends in Isis
and pull down any thing we abhor.

And while I’m not asking that we back off
covering dead figurines in sackcloth,
I don’t think it’s worth another Civil War.

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