To the editor:
I just finished business at a location in south Fort Myers. A black male in his early twenties waited on me. I tried three times to make eye contact. He did smile, greeted me, and thanked me for my business. The lack of eye contact was very memorable. I felt his pain but I wonder if he felt my pain. Even worse, I know he does not know that he has problems and no one will help him.
I recall the local newspaper story: NAACP: Remove General Lee's portrait and the associated editorial. I disagree with the editorial and feel it is past time to remove the portrait. I also agree the county should change its name. The portrait of Lee is not just interior decoration and the county name is also a negative symbol. They are both external representatives of an internalized belief of those who represent a repressive culture we should have extinguished long ago.
The portrait and the county name serve as a symbol (historical value) to the confederate sons and to the county commissioners to remind them and the people of Lee County of Robert E. Lee and his role as a military leader in a war to enforce slavery. I believe that honoring Lee, honoring the confederacy, honors slavery. Therefore to continue this practice places the county commissioners in a very comprising position. They themselves should wonder how they can govern and serve all the residents of this county without bias. I know they cannot. Of course they will say that they can. I say prove it (they can't).
The minorities in this county deserve freedom from bigotry, hate, and segregation. They also deserve freedom from the thoughts they hate. They deserve freedom from the culture which produces the demeanor demonstrated by this young man. They deserve the education and opportunity to learn and be productive citizens. The problems mentioned in the editorial (crime, education, poverty, police protection) are also part and parcel of this dysfunctional system we have created. As long as the county commissioners have no regard for those they govern, how can it improve?
The second verse of one of our favorite patriotic songs says:
Indigents and immigrants, our daughters and our sons.
O' may we never rest content till all are truly one.
America! America! God grant that we may be.
A sisterhood and brotherhood from sea to shining sea.