Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Sen. Wil Schroder Calls for Removal of Jefferson Davis Statue at Capitol


A conservative northern Kentucky voice in the Kentucky State Senate spoke to give his opinion today at a rally in Frankfort to call for the removal of Confederate President, Jefferson Davis' statue, from the Kentucky State Capitol.

Wil Schroder (R-Wilder) said he would like to see the statue removed because he didn't know what to say to kids who visited the Capitol and asked why the statue was there.

"Why would Kentucky want to showcase what has become a symbol of hate in one of its most sacred of spaces?" he asked.

The One People, One Commonwealth rally was organized by Jordan Harris, the executive director of a bipartisan think tank in Louisville called the Pegasus Institute.

Schroder called for the removal, not destruction of the statue.

"As a piece of history, this statue should be removed and placed in a museum along with other important historical markers from the Civil War, including other pieces honoring those who opposed slavery," he said.

Some prominent Kentucky Republicans backed Schroder in his comments.

Former Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson,said the Davis statue should not be in the Capitol and voiced appreciation for the “leadership” of Lexington Mayor Jim Gray.

State Treasurer Allison Ball, a Republican, said “I agree with Sen. Schroder and what he’s saying.” She did not specifically mention the statue, however.

Former State Treasurer Jonathan Miller, a Democrat, called Schroder’s comments “morally courageous.”

Previously, Sen. Mitch McConnell had called for the removal of the statue from the Capitol.

Fort Thomas Matters has obtained his speech in its entirety, below:

"We as Kentuckians are truly blessed to have such a beautiful Capitol building.

It starts when you come down Capitol Avenue and witness the impressive size and architecture of our Capitol.  And the beauty continues inside the building.  We have beautiful Senate chambers, which I am blessed to serve in, we have beautiful House Chambers, we have beautiful Supreme Court Chambers, and we have a beautiful Rotunda.

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I still remember my first visit to the Capitol. I was in the fourth grade on a field trip, and we were right here in this Rotunda. Despite it being so many years ago, I still remember that moment because it was so exciting. Between my classmates and all the people hurrying around, you could really feel the energy. I was in awe.

As a state senator, one of my favorite activities while in Frankfort is talking to students who are visiting the Capitol with their classes like I did so many years ago.  I enjoy talking to these students because they are always so excited to be here, and it is easy to see their inherent optimism and pride. They look up into the Rotunda, they look at the massive stone columns, and they wander around looking at the different statues.

I am here today because I care about these students and the future of Kentucky.  I am here for them and the future students who will one day visit the Capitol, and who will walk around this Rotunda and see the statue of Jefferson Davis and pause and wonder, “Why is this statue here? Why are we honoring this person?”

And in particular, I am here for two students who have not visited our Capitol yet, but I hope one day will.  These are my two nephews who are six and nine.  I look forward to bringing them to Frankfort and showing them our beautiful Capitol, but thinking of the day they visit and I walk them around this Rotunda, makes me a little uneasy.  It makes me uneasy because there really is not a good answer when they ask me why Jefferson Davis is here.

You see, my nephews, being born of a white mother and black father, would not have been welcomed in Jefferson Davis’ house as anything other than servants.   In fact, he would have called them “inferior” and even “savages”.  So how do I explain, as a leader of this state, why Kentucky continues to honor someone who would not have accepted them as equals and who lead the fight against their freedom?  How do I explain why Kentucky continues to honor someone, who as the President of the Confederacy is responsible for the death of thousands of Kentuckians?  The truth is… it’s unexplainable.    

Some people say that this statue is a sign of history, and as a historical marker, belongs here.  I disagree. Because of its historical content, it belongs in a museum but not in a place of honor.

The Rotunda is reserved for those who built our Commonwealth up and made it stronger, not for those who tried to tear it apart!

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It is true that the world should never forget what happened in the Civil War.  That would be a foolish thing to do.  But this amazing place in the Capitol Rotunda should be reserved for honorable Kentuckians who are deemed worthy of our recognition and celebration, and Jefferson Davis is not one of them.

Some people will say that this is only a statue and nothing more. Again, I disagree.  When those that preach hate adopt statues across the Nation as sacred monuments, then they become more than just statues.  They become symbolic of the hate and ugliness that those groups stand for.

So I ask:  Why would Kentucky want to showcase what has become a symbol of hate in one of its most sacred of spaces?

And let me be clear – to the KKK, neo-Nazis, and white supremacists – Your hate is not welcome here!  As our state motto says, “United We Stand, Divided We Fall.”  Today, I stand united with my brothers and sisters from different backgrounds, of different races, of different religions, and of different political affiliations united in the idea that we can make Kentucky and this Capitol a better place with the simple removal of one statue.

The truth is that when we changed the words to our state song, “My Old Kentucky Home,” it became a better song.  It is a song we can now ALL sing with pride.

As a piece of history, this statue should be removed and placed in a museum along with other important historical markers from the Civil War, including other pieces honoring those who opposed slavery.  Upon removal of the Jefferson Davis statue from this Rotunda, our Capitol will be a better and more beautiful Capitol. One we can all visit with pride regardless of our background or the color of our skin.  Because despite our backgrounds, uniqueness, or race, we are ALL Kentuckians."

8 comments:

  1. Well thank you Mr.Schroder for not only clarifying President Davis for me and making it right for you and your nephews..However I did vote for you on the pretence that you were a conservative I didn't know you were a liberal Democrat at heart.You obviously know very little about Jefferson Davis and I'm sure that the first thing student comment on is the statue..bull...to keep it clean.. personally I think you are looking for your 15 min of Fame you certainly have done nothing for my county ..and have further divided us right along with rest of the nation This is Kentucky sir you are there to represent the whole not a portion..you will not get my vote in the next election...And damn sorry I give it to you in the last...

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  2. Have you people lost your ever lovin minds? Are you crazy? You are trying to erase our history, our story, our country's story. You can't change history, or make it go away just because you don't like it. You all need to get a grip and snap out of this insanity

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  3. I can't vote against ya, but I can surely contribute to your future opponent.

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  4. I'm sure plenty of historians will differ with you on your statements about Jefferson Davis and the War. He is not responsible for the deaths of Kentuckians. I find many of your comments to be warped and it's best you not say anything to any children at all.

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  5. You can't change history by erasing it, and I am curious as to why you would risk alienating a large segment of your constituents by disregarding their opinions. Do these people not matter as much as others?

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  6. Shame on y'all. So an adult doesn't know what to say to a child? It is a teaching moment. To deny history is to be doomed to repeat it! It's not about racism, it's about history and heritage. Think about this for a second, first it's the Confederates. What's next? I assure you that if you trod this dark road, every bit of the history of the United States of America will be systematically wiped out while fascism slowly takes over.

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  7. I think this was a wise move. I am glad to see that Sen. Schroder did not make this about politics. These statues belong in a museum and not in such a prominent spot in our Capital.

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  8. Wil, I'm so proud of you for taking this stand! In a state like Kentucky, it isn't an easy stand, politically, but it sure is the right thing to do for our generation, and the one to follow. Bless you for being the voice of reason and providing hope during a time that makes me feel rather hopeless.

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