Texas Lt. Gov. Won't Remove Confederate Monuments Because Democrats Won't 'Acknowledge' Slavery Was Their Fault

Illustration for article titled Texas Lt. Gov. Wont Remove Confederate Monuments Because Democrats Wont Acknowledge Slavery Was Their Fault
Photo: Lynda M. Gonzalez-Pool (Getty Images)

White conservatives have to be some of the most manipulative, delusional and disingenuous people on Earth. They’ve made being deliberately obtuse an art form, and you could almost admire them for it if their willful ignorance superpowers weren’t used almost exclusively to perpetuate white supremacy while denying that white supremacy exists.

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Last week, the Texas Senate Democrat Caucus sent a letter to Governor Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick urging them to remove Confederate monuments and symbols displayed in buildings and on the grounds of the Texas Capitol. Patrick responded with a letter of his own. His response? “We can’t talk about removing monuments until Democrats admit that they started this slavery shit!” (I’m paraphrasing of course.)

“If you are truly sincere about a serious discussion, then you need to openly examine the role Democrats have played in our state’s history on this issue,” Patrick wrote, according to the Texas Tribune. “It is time to be transparent. A first step in addressing these issues is for Democrats to acknowledge that it was your party who carried out those past discriminatory policies and injustices and who built those monuments and hung those paintings.”

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I don’t speak fluent Caucasity (I’m pretty sure they taught it as an elective when I was in high school but all my crushes at the time were taking home ec, so….) but here’s my best translation of Patrick’s white nonsense: “Democrats created these monuments of slavery and institutional racism, we Republicans only celebrate those symbols religiously. You need to first address the racism you started, but not by asking us to remove monuments to said racism because we love those monuments. Now admit you’re the real racists!”

I won’t even bother going into the history that shows the platforms of the two parties shifted and essentially switched over time; that’s a reality that will never break through the shield of conservative obtuseness. Instead, let’s just focus on the current hypocrisy on full display here.

First, let’s talk about white people’s favorite conservative proverb: “No white people alive today owned slaves, so why should we have to answer for it?”

I guarantee you that Patrick has responded to that question with a “this MF spittin’” meme before, yet he’s asking Democrats, who also weren’t alive to own slaves, to answer for the crimes of their ancestors and predecessors. (Never mind the fact that almost no one is asking 21st-century white people to answer for slavery; we’re asking them to answer for the systemic racism they currently perpetuate and benefit from.)

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Don’t get it twisted: Democrats have done plenty in recent decades to harm Black people. (The 1994 crime bill, for example.) But it’s today’s Republicans who go out of their way to oppose any and all anti-racism efforts, and they’re the ones trying their hardest to keep us from voting.

From the Tribune:

But Republicans have been in near-complete control of the Texas government this century, and in that time have passed multiple voting measures found by federal courts to have intentionally discriminated against people of color.

In the last decade alone, federal courts have repeatedly scolded the Legislature under Republican leadership for discriminating against voters of color in redrawing political maps that undermined the political clout of Hispanic and Black voters and in passing one of the strictest voter ID laws in the country that disproportionately burdened voters of color who were less likely to have the identification the state required people to show at the polls.

At the start of the most recent legislative session, about 80% of Democrats in the Texas Legislature were people of color, compared with about 4% of Republicans.

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“Apparently Dan Patrick’s history book doesn’t go past 1960 and doesn’t account for the dog-whistling and outright bigoted behavior that has come to define his party,” Abhi Rahman, a spokesperson for the Texas Democratic Party, said in response to Patrick’s letter. “Patrick’s logic makes no sense. We want to take down monuments of traitors. Patrick wants to bow down to them. It’s as simple as that.”

But Patrick isn’t just being illogical, he’s being manipulative with the understanding that the choir he’s preaching to won’t scrutinize him closely enough to see how easily his logic falls apart.

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In his response letter, Patrick continued to insist that it was Democrats “who controlled the levers of government when these monuments were placed and paintings were hung” before going on to distance America from the very racism he’s calling on Democrats to take responsibility for.

“I recognize that in every country in the world and every state in our nation, there are periods of injustice and inequality in our history that we lament,” he wrote. “But I believe that it’s what we have done as a nation, and as a state to correct those injustices, that defines us.”

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Nah, bruh. You don’t get to shit on someone’s lawn then come back with a pooper-scooper two and a half centuries later and then declare that cleaning up your own shit is what defines you—especially not while you’re opposing the removal of the monuments commemorating your shitty ways.


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Zack Linly is a poet, performer, freelance writer, blogger and grown man lover of cartoons

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DISCUSSION

If Democrats are to “blame” for slavery then shouldn’t Democrats get to say what happens to these statues?