One thing about the past – it changes as much as the present.
That’s because the lenses through which we view the past are ever changing, which brings us to the Confederacy and the ways Arkansas memorializes it.
The State Capitol grounds are home to 15 monuments, and three of them relate to the Confederacy. The Monument to Confederate Soldiers, dedicated in 1905, and the Monument to Confederate Women, dedicated in 1913, are at the front corners of the Capitol and are the tallest statues on the grounds. A third monument, the War Prisoners’ Marker, would be easy to miss, as it’s basically a raised plaque near the spot where the 10 Commandments monument will be rebuilt.
Given time and nothing else to do, sometimes men will say a lot.
As we waited in the August sun for our children to take their driving tests, a fellow dad told me about his daughter who works at night and had phoned him after another establishment had been robbed. He said he had told her, if threatened, to shoot the assailant and call him. It would be OK because there would be “one less black.”
I think I checked to make sure I’d heard him right, and he repeated it. He then quickly added, “I’m not a racist, but …” and explained that news reports about crimes usually involve blacks and Hispanics.
It’s not often a public policy problem can be completely checked off the to-do list. Last month, one was.
That’s when 100 percent of Arkansas’ school districts reached broadband internet connections of 200 kilobits per second per student. That’s twice the national standard, at no more cost than the previous slower speeds. According to the group Education Superhighway, only five states had reached the 100 kbps standard as of 2016, though others may do so along with Arkansas this year.
Advantages don’t guarantee success, but they certainly help, and so far Gov. Asa Hutchinson has more than a million of them.
Hutchinson had raised $1.3 million as of July 18 for his re-election campaign, which will be against whomever the Democrats can convince to run against him and the Libertarian candidate. He still had almost $1.2 million on hand at the time.
And the Democrats will find someone. For a political party in Arkansas to remain on the ballot without having to gather signatures, it must win 3 percent in the presidential or governor’s race, depending on which year it is. Democrats can’t do that without a candidate. The longer it takes to find one, the bigger the fundraising gap will be, unless the candidate is independently wealthy and willing to spend his or her own money. It happens, but not very often.