Since I am so tired of reading story after story about Confederate flags and statues I thought this commentary by John Kelso was just what the doctor ordered. Kelso, who writes a weekly column for Austin American-Statesman, has come up with a solution to the problem of the removal of Confederate statues:
Oh, yeah, I almost forgot. UT has been trying to decide what to do with four
bronze Confederate figures on campus, among them Jefferson Davis and Robert E.
Lee. The House debate got so contentious that Reps. Senfronia Thompson,
D-Houston, and Beverly Woolley, R-Houston, nearly went roller derby on us and
had to be separated.
Why is Robert E. Lee’s statue at the University of Texas anyway? Lee never gave money to the
athletic department. Was he ever a member of the Longhorn Foundation? Rich
lawyer Joe Jamail rating a statue inside Royal-Memorial Stadium I can
understand. He keeps writing checks to keep the football team in the Top 10. Until Lee gets his own skybox, I’m not sure why he rates recognition. They
should put a Jamail bronze on horseback on UT’s South Mall and stick Lee in
front of Posse East.
OK, so here’s my main plan. Instead of statues, why not switch to big blowup
dolls? When the public decides it’s time for some notable to disappear, you just
walk up with a pin and, pop, they’re history. Besides, inflatables are a lot
cheaper than a $400,000 statue. I know because I called Alvimar, a New York company that makes inflatables,
to ask about prices. "A 15-foot-tall what inflatable?" the gal on the phone asked. "A Robert E.
Lee," I said. She didn’t seem to recognize the name. A minute later, this guy named Dan got on the line. "A ballpark figure, probably $7,000 or something like that," said Dan, when I
asked him how much a 15-foot helium Lee blowup would cost. "And it would take
five to seven weeks to make it. You’d have to send me all the pictures and
So would it be a realistic Robert E. Lee? "They would be more cartoonish
characters," Dan said. OK, so it’s a Robert E. Lee that looks like Elmer Fudd. I’m cool with that,
as long as it keeps the Legislature from squabbling.