“People are just so dug in. I’ve never seen anything like this. And I don’t know how to deal with it.”
Those were the thoughts of a lifelong Sylva resident regarding the debate over the Confederate statue on the steps of the Jackson County Courthouse.
That debate has been the topic of many stories this year. Of course, in a very real sense in the year of our Lord 2020 there has only been one story: The pandemic. It’s impacted the economy, work at every level, schools at every level, athletics at every level, life at every level.
Until the pandemic is brought under control, none of those issues is going to come close to being fixed.
To put it one way, as the song goes, we got 99 problems, and a statue ain’t one of them.
Regarding the debate, the vast majority of proponents and opponents of the century-old structure have tried to make their case, keep their friends with differing viewpoints and generally have a civic discussion despite emotions running high.
We salute that majority, and we would like to single out the work of the Sylva Police Department for keeping the peace in our public spaces, even though a few would like to see that peace disrupted and then some.
However, there are a few folks we’d like to talk about today who fall into a completely different category – the folks who Zoom bombed last week’s Sylva Town Board meeting, hurling insults, racist and sexist comments and various epithets.
Whatever cause those people were hoping to advance, they set it back light years.
And it deserves to be set back light years.
(Unless of course their cause was to prove they’re idiots, which in that case, mission accomplished).
The combination of genetics that produced people smart enough to pull that off and dumb enough to act the way they did was surely something to behold.
A lot of people want the statue to remain. A lot want it removed. Some want it modified or moved. And a lot just don’t know what to think. And a lot share the sentiment of the Sylva resident: they just don’t know what to do.
In the end, the verdict on that statue is up to the community. It’s our business to report on that conversation as it continues.
And to call out the folks like those who interrupted the public’s business last week and proved nothing except that they have no place in that conversation at all.