Alabama Memorial Preservation Act deceptive
Published 9:07 pm Tuesday, March 14, 2017
The name sounds so innocent. In fact, it sounds good. But it is not what it is named but what it answers to. This Senate Bill 60 answers to the call of rank oppression.
It is called the Alabama Memorial Preservation Act of 2017. Each word sounds good in its own way. Alabama. Memorial. Preservation. Act. 2017. Together they sound real good. However, it is not what we call it but what it answers to. This bill answers to the beck and call of rank oppression.
Let the bill speak for itself. Let the bill speak in its own words. See for yourself. These are some of its words. One: “This bill would prohibit the relocation, removal, alteration, renaming or other disturbances of monuments located on public property which have been in place for 50 or more years.” Two: “This bill would prohibit, and provide a mechanism for the relocation, removal, alteration, renaming or other disturbances of monuments located on public property which have been in place for less than 50 years.” Three: “This bill would restrict the renaming of a county, municipality, school, street, bridge, building, park, preserve, or reserves located on public property.” The foregoing are direct quotes from the bill. It is not what we call the Alabama Memorial Preservation Act but what it answers to. And it answers to the beck and call of rank oppression.
In my opinion, this bill started out to protect Confederate monuments, which was challenging in and of itself. But it grew bigger and more oppressive. It was named the Alabama Heritage Protection Act when first introduce several special sessions ago. If it becomes law, it will be a weight on every town, city, county, school system and other public entity. It would virtually prevent future historical monuments in the name of preserving past memorials. It would circumscribe future historical symbols of history in the name of preserving past history. It is not what we call the Alabama Memorial Preservation Act but what it answers to. And it answers to the beck and call of rank oppression.
The bill says that any monument more than 50 years old no matter how objectionable cannot be removed from public property. The monument is there for eternity regardless of the situation or circumstances.
But that is not all. Any monument fewer than 50 years old would require special permission to be moved or changed, even those put up yesterday. Towns, cities, counties, state agencies, school boards and other public bodies would have to submit applications to a special commission for a change. This entity would then decide whether any change could be made. Its view of history would be decisive.
But there is more, much more. This bill does not stop with monuments 50 years and older. Nor does it stop with monuments younger than 50 years. It goes much, much farther. In fact, it would impact the name of every street, road, avenue, bridge, school, town, city, county and other entities. These entities would not be able to change any name without permission of this commission.
Can you believe that none of the 460 municipalities could rename their streets, roads and bridges without special permission of this commission? Can you believe that each of Alabama 67 counties would not be able to rename their roads and bridges without permission of this commission?
Names are powerful. They color how we perceive things being named. But names can be terribly deceiving by clothing oppression with good-sounding names. The Alabama Memorial Preservation Act is such a deception.