Letter: Yes to removing the Vance Monument

Graphic by Lori Deaton

There are a lot of people who have voiced their opinion about the removal of the Vance Monument. It is good to see an engaged community.

Many have stated their opinion that the monument should be repurposed. Indeed, that was one of the possibilities entertained by both the Vance Monument Task Force and Asheville City Council. However, both by wide margins (11-1 and 6-1) agreed that its removal was the best solution.

Yes, it is costly to make that decision, but if we ask why and really listen to the reasons for that decision by both groups, it should be clear that a lot of thought was put into it. Not everything can be measured by money. There are other costs that need to be factored in, particularly for those in our community who see the monument, whether named for a historical figure or having a different name, as one that would remain hurtful and even traumatic if it continues to stand.

For those who disagree, you have every right to do so. We are lucky in this country to be able to have the right to do so, but please don’t ridicule others who don’t hold your opinion, especially our elected City Council and members of the Vance Monument Task Force. They took their responsibilities seriously. We should appreciate their service to our community and to make a difficult decision.

— Ron Katz


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19 thoughts on “Letter: Yes to removing the Vance Monument

  1. Frank

    Can’t we come to grips with our past without destroying it? We cannot change history but we can come together, highlight the progress made and commit to continue to move forward. Leaving it standing honors progress made, is middle ground and yes it cost a whole lot less. Forgive me if this seems insensitive to those traumatized, I am just trying to understand things the best I can.

    • bsummers

      While there are still white supremacists who will claim victory if it’s left standing, it has to come down.

      • Frank

        Renaming would represent a solid defeat to hateful thinking and a victory for progress.

        • James

          If we renamed the Statue of Liberty would you call it by the new name and forget everything it stood for, too? Leaving it up is a victory for hateful thinking and nothing more than appeasement in the face of threats.

          • Voirdire

            When they disassemble ….or heaven forbid, re-purpose that oversized obelisk formerly known as the Washington Monument (…in Washington DC ;) …erected to honor a real honest to goodness enslaver and white supremacist… will it still be known to absolutely everyone as the Washington Monument? Ludicrous, huh? ;)

        • Peter Robbins

          You answered your own question, Frank. A solid defeat for hateful thinking is good but not as good as a more solid defeat. A partial victory for progress is good, but not as good as a more complete victory. A reasonable person would prefer a stride forward, if practicable, to a step forward. She wouldn’t assume that a step is better than a stride merely because she’s not used to moving forward in strides. Only an inflexible ideologue with a pre-commitment to small steps would do that.

      • Voirdire

        It’s always a zero sum game for the antifas and anarchists. Somehow, I unfortunately believe the dismantling -rather than the interpretive re-purposing of the Vance Monument -might just somehow ADD a few misguided folks to the white supremacists ranks. I believe the Honorable Ms. Kilgore on the City Council -as many of her so not so very white and a bit less entitled constituents- share the same view. sigh.

        • Peter Robbins

          You think an obelisk is keeping people from becoming white supremacists? Maybe that shape has magical properties after all.

    • Voirdire

      Frank, thank you for your gracious, insightful, and very well put comment… plea. Alas, I think not in this case -the case of the Vance Monument. Your thoughts and sentiments on it though should not be disregarded lightly though, and are worth repeating: “Can’t we come to grips with our past without destroying it? We cannot change history but we can come together, highlight the progress made and commit to continue to move forward. Leaving it standing honors progress made, is middle ground and yes it cost a whole lot less.” I’m afraid that truth ..along with any attempt at thoughtful compromise (NOT appeasement, btw) … is always the first casualty of war. The cultural war now being waged in our country. God bless us all.

  2. Peter Robbins

    A single is a solid hit that helps the runners advance. There’s nothing wrong with it. Your team might settle for a single if that’s the best it can get. Cheer even. But a grand slam clears the bases with less interpretative burden on the casual fan.

    • Voirdire

      What a clever and so very apt pirouette …. “clears the bases with less interpretative burden on the casual fan”. I’m particularly in awe of the over-arching and unmistakable condescending tone of it. For sure, the hoi polloi -the simple common folk- are beyond a doubt incapable of wrapping their less than razor sharp minds around any sort of reconsidered and interpretive view of our shared history. Thank you for your generous and benign dismissal. Surely we all feel a bit more enlightened, and a bit less burdened by your progressive view of it all… and us ;)

      • Peter Robbins

        I believe they call what you just did a swing and a miss.

        But here’s another metaphor you might like. I’m told it’s popular with the common folk: “No one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins, the wine will run out, and the wineskins will be ruined. No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins.” – Luke 5:37-38

  3. Enlightened Enigma

    with all the destruction of downtown and total lack of leadership and police presence, it makes no difference to keep it or not…AVL is dead for now…and we don’t care…

  4. Voirdire

    oh, and Ron, thank you for your kind and thoughtful letter….. much appreciated. You are absolutely correct… we are fortunate indeed to be able to agree to disagree. Lucky us. Onward.

  5. Roger

    The problem with backward-thinking partisans like Ron Katz is that he is so out-of-touch with his own condescension that he’s apparently in awe of an attempt at high-mindedness at the end of his letter. Of course those of us who disagree with his irrational logic wouldn’t know we have a right to our own views unless he so patriotically let us know our rights were intact and protected by the Constitution. Apparently this far-left partisan has convinced himself to think that those of us who share a forward view of this matter aren’t “serious” about the needless destruction radicals from Antifa and other Marxist organization have done to inner cities properties, threatened law enforcement personnel, broken into the Capitol building dressed as Trump supporters, and glorified their behavior as if what they do will be remembered as the “right” thing to have done for their country. That won’t happen, and never will. Even now, the tide is turning here at home, and in other nations who are telling these Marxist partisans to keep their “cancel culture” ideology out of their country. The pendulum swings two ways, and the “cancel culture” activists will go down as righteous frauds who have no respect for historical fact or for anyone who thinks for himself/herself, apart from partisan thought-control and mob-oriented riotous acts of hate. “Fraud” is the key term to keep in mind when one reads such nonsense.

    • Voirdire

      okay Roger: ” …broken into the Capitol building dressed as Trump supporters” ….WOW. Good to know. I guess I only have one question left in regard to any and all of this… and it’s a very very serious one: Is everyone insane? Really really scary.

      • Roger

        “okay” what? You say? Aren’t you a smug partisan (or most likely an anarchist) to make such a condescending start to a question you really don’t want answered, I suspect. You aren’t serious, after all. You’re a smug radical who believes everything you’re told to think about matters you would never “seriously” think about investigating for yourself! Try examining any number of news sources before you conclude that you, and only you, have the answer, and that anyone with a viewpoint at odds with your “serious” one has to be insane. If you don’t know that a BLM activist charged with criminal activity was among those who broke into the Capitol building on Jan. 6, and that this same activist wore a red “Make American Great Again” Trump cap, that he took video images at specific break-in locations, and that he did all of this for illegal, anarchist purposes…then, the only conclusion to arrive at with “respect” for your response is “WOW, Voirdire! What planet did you arrive here from?” Really, you’re downright silly to think you can confuse the issue for pure partisan or anarchist purposes. Get a life, already!

  6. Roger

    This is not a “reply”! This is one more piece of nonsense from a radical leftist who refuses to investigate any other news source but the one that espouses his, and only his, view of the events in question. That this “responder” seems to think that the criminal action of January 6 so noted did not occur is proof enough that even PBS is not reliable enough to be sourced. As for the question about everyones’ “sanity”? Let’s begin with the radical view that you, and only you, is sane enough to ever think of asking such a question. WOW, that you would even pursue an argument upon matters you appear to be so poorly informed about? WOW, now that’s what I view as “scary.” Get a life, already.

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