April 13, 2018 02:03 PM
Updated April 14, 2018 09:30 AM
I wonder how Mark Twain would react to the Confederate Monument debate? As a Mark Twain interpreter, I have attempted to channel his thoughts on the current state of race relations in America.
I believe he would be attacked from both sides of the argument. As he did in life, he would challenge us to do better.
A letter from Hell
As often stated, I would refuse to go to Heaven if forced to go by rail. The almighty took me seriously! Having resided with Satan since 1910 has been an education.
The weather forecast is consistent — it is always hot as blazes. If I had any influence, I would petition to limit the population of lawyers and politicians. But, perhaps I am being unfair. Without exception, they all earned the right to be here.
Recent arrivals from America have confirmed many a sad truth. Race relations have not improved in the last century, and in some respects, have worsened. I’m told that Sunday is still the most segregated day of the week. This saddens me.
These modern day hypocrites read from the same Bible, sing off-key the same hymns and pray to the same God. Amazingly, they still do these things in a mostly white or black church.
Yet they believe that when they get to Heaven they will love everyone regardless of race. I still suspect that God invented Man because He was disappointed in the monkey! A prominent politician who arrived in Hell last week, informs me that the “N” word is now banned from the English language. In Huckleberry Finn, I used that word some 219 times.
I wanted to make readers see the truth about slavery and perhaps change some hearts and minds along the way. My efforts were sincere.
Discrimination lives — but we have banned language that offends us. Dispatches from recent arrivals report little of no success with this strategy. A lawyer from Raleigh was mustered-in to Hell this week. He seemed happy to escape the pollen.
He related to me the ongoing dispute over Confederate Monuments. Apparently, the controversy has reached a fever pitch with little or no reasoned debate on the fate of these offensive lifeless objects. The absence of reasoned debate has caused otherwise sane people to argue over chiseled stone.
One thing seems certain —if the monuments disappear tonight the warring parties will be forced to fight over other dead things. Actual racial understanding will not have advanced an inch. I must admit that I have a personal dog in this hunt.
For less than a month, I was a Confederate soldier. I deserted because I was tired of retreating! Will the Mark Twain statues, monuments and Bobble-heads survive this era? I can only hope they do.
I will continue to follow the lack of progress on race relations as I interview new arrivals to Hell. It’s part of my job as a newspaper reporter — a respectable occupation down here.
Mark Twain, Somewhere in Hell
Don McNeill is a Mark Twain interpreter living in Raleigh.