Monday, June 7, 2021

How Do They Sleep at Night?

I mentioned recently that Minnesota Senate Republicans were up in arms about a plan to add the Dakota word for the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers to the name of Fort Snelling (which is located where those two rivers meet). I gave it as evidence to show how far the Right is from acknowledging the historical reality of this country.

Today's Star Tribune carried an article called Minnesota Senate GOP wants state control of some historic sites, which might sound innocuous, but it's part of the same story.

Republicans don't trust the Minnesota Historical Society, which has been here since 1849 and is in our state's constitution, to manage our historic sites because of things like the effort to add the word Bdote to the Fort Snelling sign. You can't make this stuff up, as we have to say all too often these days.

Senator Mary Kiffmeyer — the same Republican leader who wants to require voter ID because she sees a rash of voter fraud everywhere (hmm, where have we heard that before?) — thinks the Historical Society is "too controversial," since Republicans have been working to make the organization controversial.

Kiffmeyer said she's been contacted by concerned citizens who have said that, because the Minnesota Historical Society is a nonprofit, they were unable to access details about plans for changes on certain historic sites, including Fort Snelling.

Giving the state operation of the sites would make the process more transparent and accountable to the public, Kiffmeyer said. It would also give the state explicit authority over operations on land it owns.

Transparency sure is the middle name of the Republican Party, backer of all things dark money.

These same Republicans bitch about everything state agencies do, of course. So if the sites were being run by a state agency directly, they would complain then, too, and probably want to privatize them.

The Star Tribune article also mentions that Republicans were inflamed by the fact that Indigenous activists pulled down the statue of Christopher Columbus on the Minnesota Capitol grounds last summer. They want it put back up. In my opinion, even if he wasn't a murdering colonizer who discovered nothing, it makes no sense for there to be a statue of Columbus in Minnesota. He personally had nothing to do with the state or the various ethnic groups that populate it. Just because some group of people funded a statue a hundred years ago, doesn't mean you have to keep it on public property forever.

Meanwhile, it's the one-year anniversary of the toppling of the statue of slave-trader Edward Colston in Bristol, England, and someone has put up a sign commemorating the destruction of the statue.

Photo by Nadine White

I know they have their own challenges in the UK, but I wish that was more where we were at, instead of fighting rear-guard actions against Mary Kiffmeyer and her friends.

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