Anything is better than a Confederate monument, so I can’t even be mad that one grieving Florida community is petitioning for said monument to be replaced by a statue of Snooty, a beloved manatee who died over the weekend in a tank accident at the South Florida Museum aquarium that has been described as “tragic.”
The truth is indeed sometimes stranger than fiction.
According to USA Today, the petition was started in Brandenton, Fla., by local resident Anthony Pusateri and has actually garnered 4,324 supporters so far out of the desired 5,000.
“There is a Confederate memorial statue that stands directly in front of the old courthouse just blocks away from the aquarium where Snooty resided. To honor Snooty’s legacy as a positive icon in Bradenton, I propose that the negative symbol of racism and oppression that is the Confederate monument be relocated and replaced with a statue of Snooty the Manatee,” Pusateri wrote in the petition description on Change.org. “By doing so, the Confederate monument could possibly be moved to a museum (or other more appropriate location) out of everyday public eye and a more positive symbol then take its place.”
Snooty died two days after his 69th birthday in “simply a heartbreaking accident,” according to aquarium officials. Snooty, the oldest manatee in captivity, drowned after becoming trapped by a hatch door.
“Aquarium staff is heartbroken,” Jeff Rodgers, the museum’s provost and chief operating officer, said when the news became public. “We grieve right along with these folks. ... We’ve given a lot of hugs on the front porch of the museum today as people were coming in. A lot of people loved that manatee. We loved him too.”
Now Pusateri is hoping to immortalize the manatee forever while also getting rid of the Confederate statue.
“Why not do two birds with one stone?” Pusateri told the paper.
Read more at USA Today.