It’s kind of funny to see the very same people who cheer for states’ (local) rights cite national polls in the debate about whether Confederate monuments should be removed or re-located. But here’s the thing, as a barometer for why monuments are under attack and even being removed these polls tell us nothing. In fact, they are largely irrelevant.
Here’s the Reuters/IPSOS Poll.
A majority of Americans think Confederate monuments should be preserved in public spaces, according to a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll, a view that is at odds with efforts in many cities to remove them.
…or there is the NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll
asked voters if Confederate statues should remain or be removed. Sixty-two percent of the poll’s participants said that the statues should remain. Only 27 percent of the participants believe the statues should be removed.
Forty-four percent of African Americans believe the Confederate statues should stay in place, while 11 percent said they’re unsure. The remaining 40 percent of African Americans polled said the statues should be removed.
The only polls that matter are local. Communities in Charlottesville, Baltimore, Dallas, New Orleans and in countless other places throughout the country did not consult national polls when they decided to erect these monuments. At the time they didn’t even have to consult with the entire local population given the realities of leglaized segregation during the Jim Crow-era.
The birth, life, and possible end of any public monument hinges on the support within a community and the pressure they choose to exert on their elected officials. Like it or not, what we are witnessing is democracy in action.