Desperately hoping to gain some support of any kind, Bobby Jindal took a break from campaigning in Iowa and planning the construction of his new Baton Rouge home to insert himself in the Confederate monuments debate. Down in New Orleans, the city is seriously considering removing some monuments to Confederate civil war figures, a contentious issue that has many “Southern heritage” groups up in arms.
It isn’t any surprise that this is the same voter demographic Bobby Jindal has been attempting to appeal to in order to gain any traction for his campaign. Currently, Jindal sits near the very back of the pack and is less popular than Hillary Clinton in his own very conservative state. It would make sense that he would seek to portray himself as a supporter of Confederate monuments, just as he tried to appeal to gun fanatics when he declared that it wasn’t the time to talk about gun violence in the wake of the Lafayette movie theater shooting last month.
From The Advocate:
The Jindal administration’s vow came after New Orleans’ Historic District Landmarks Commission cleared the way for the City Council to take down prominent statues of Robert E. Lee, P.G.T. Beauregard and Jefferson Davis and a less public monument commemorating an attack launched by the White League against the Reconstruction-era government in the city.
The ongoing debate over those monuments has sparked debate in the city — and around the state — with many suggesting there was a state law known as the “Heritage Act” that the governor could use to step in. When asked Thursday night whether the governor planned to intervene, spokesman Doug Cain replied that “Governor Jindal opposes the tearing down of these historical statues and he has instructed his staff to look into the Heritage Act to determine the legal authority he has as Governor to stop it.” (Source)
Here is the problem: The Heritage Act that the Jindal administration is citing to stop New Orleans from removing the statues of Robert E. Lee and others doesn’t exist. The only applicable result you can find on a web search is the Heritage Act which was passed in South Carolina back in 2000 to protect the Confederate flag that has since been removed by the state’s Republican-controlled legislature.
One of these monuments now sits on a side street between a flood wall and a parking garage near the Audobon Aquarium and commemorates the battle of Liberty Place which happened in 1874. This battle pitted members of the racist White League against state militia and city police in an attempt to overthrow the state’s government and restore white supremacy. Although the White League won the battle against the forces led by former Confederate general James Longstreet, they were later forced to retreat when federal troops came in to restore order. The Liberty Place monument is considered to be a symbol of white supremacy by members of the KKK and remains controversial in New Orleans to this day.
The statues in question aren’t recent additions, they were installed once Reconstruction ended. Thanks to the Posse Comitatus Act which was signed in 1878, the White League and other white supremacist organizations were able to impose their will in Louisiana and across the South for the next several decades. During these decades, the statues of Lee and others went up across the South as the Civil War became romanticized as a war over states’ rights instead of the issue of slavery which was the main point of contention between the North and South.
Bobby Jindal has since been forced to seek other avenues to block the removal of these monuments, but the chances of him being able to block the decisions of the New Orleans City Council are slim to none. That isn’t going to stop him from continuing to pander to people who see the Confederacy as a noble cause that will someday rise again. It is always possible that he will try to issue an executive order to stop New Orleans from taking down these monuments that commemorate the losing side of history, but that will certainly fail in court and waste more taxpayer money in the process. Then again, since when has Bobby Jindal ever cared about fiscal responsibility when it comes to furthering his political career?
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