Chris King, a Democrat who’s running for governor, left no doubt where he stands on the issue of Confederate monuments on public property.
King, a Winter Park businessman, wants them all gone.
“These monuments should be removed because we should not celebrate literal anti-American ideology or any ideology based on the oppression of any group of people,” King said in a statement. “And to those who say these monuments are needed to preserve our history, I say we don’t need memorials celebrating this dark time in our history. As we’ve seen in Charlottesville this weekend, we live with the legacy of this history every day.”
King issued the statement after a deadly clash in Charlottesville, Va., that left one person dead after a car plowed into a group of counterprotesters following a “Unite the Right” rally.
There’s a Confederate monument outside the state Capitol in Tallahassee, erected “to rescue from oblivion and perpetuate in the memory of succeeding generations the heroic patriotism of the men of Leon County who perished in the Civil War of 1861-1865,” according to the inscription.
A number of Florida cities, including Jacksonville, are now grappling with what to do with the Confederate statues. Workers in Gainesville began tearing down a monument Monday outside the Alachua County Courthouse.
That’s the same city where white nationalist Richard Spencer, who participated in the Charlottesville event, may speak at the University of Florida next month.
Here’s King’s full statement:
“It’s time for the orderly removal all the Confederate monuments in Florida. These monuments should be removed because we should not celebrate literal anti-American ideology or any ideology based on the oppression of any group of people. And to those who say these monuments are needed to preserve our history, I say we don’t need memorials celebrating this dark time in our history. As we’ve seen in Charlottesville this weekend, we live with the legacy of this history every day.
“It’s time for Florida to put its fealty and energy not toward monuments to a divided past, but toward a vision of the future that provides for common growth. Florida values diversity, but simply saying so understates the case. Florida’s economic engine is built on diversity. We are a state of many races, faiths and languages, each making our state a great place to live in, and each underpinning our economy. But our economic engine has been held back for far too long by the ghosts of the past.
“Removing Confederate monuments is not just the right thing to do for Florida values and its citizens, but the smart thing to do for Florida’s economy. In order to unleash Florida’s economic potential, and attract the jobs and investment we need to grow into the national leader we should be, it’s time to position Florida as a state with eyes set on the future.”
— By Lloyd Dunkelberger.