Confederate Proclamation Protest
I’m Chuck Enderlin, and I’m the next congressman from Georgia’s 3rd Congressional District.
Now, as I’ve been going around this district I get asked a lot of questions.
“Chuck, why are you running for Congress?”
“Why are you running as a Democrat?”
“Hey, why are you, an up-and-coming promising politician, in a competitive race, willing to wade into one of the most fraught issues in southern politics?”
And the answer is very simple: It’s because of the values I have.
It’s the values that were taught by my parents, by my church, by boy scouting, and by my service in the United States Marine Corps. It’s the value of equality - that most audacious of democratic values we have. And that value of love that we must show for everyone. And that love comes with conditions - we have to be honest, and we have to be courageous. We have to be willing to say what needs to be said even when it’s dangerous, or even when it brings us trouble.
That brings us to where we are now. For too long, we have been avoiding the ugly reality. The Civil War was fought for one reason: race based slavery.
Every state that seceded from the union did it for that reason. Now, some will try to hide behind history or heritage - hide their racism behind some of their shield. But they can’t do that in Georgia, because Georgia is one of five states that actually spelled out in another document why they seceded. And in that second sentence of it, it makes it very clear: “We have differences among our other states, specifically the non-slave owning states, and those differences are over African slavery.” In that document they go on to mention slavery over 30 more times. It is clear why this war was fought. It is clear why we must stop this Proclamation. And it is clear what we must do.
Now, last weekend, we had some Nazis down in Newnan. You may have seen that. And instead of going to their rally and giving them an outlet for their message of hate, a lot of us went to a unity rally at St. Smyrna Baptist Church. At the close of that rally, Cynthia Jenkins left us with a message based on the letter of St. James - that your faith must be intertwined with your works. That if you stand for love - and if you stand for what is right - you must be willing to do what is right regardless of the circumstances.
This is not something that will end today. This is going to be a fight that we will have to carry on into the future. But the good news is we have a chance to carry that fight on next week.
Elections are coming.
May 22nd we vote for school board members who will make sure that our history classes teach the truth about the Civil War. We have a chance to nominate Democrats for Governor.
We have a chance to nominate good, strong men of character to the United States Congress who will carry those values we share all the way to Pennsylvania Avenue, where racism has become more entrenched than we have ever seen in any of our lives.
So when we leave this rally today, take the message with you. And then, on Monday, go vote! And on Tuesday, grab your friends, tell them you’re taking them out to coffee, and take them to vote!
And do it on Wednesday… and on Thursday… and on Friday… until we are the change we want to be.