Tuesday started out a shady and soggy mess, but all was cleared up in the afternoon, just in time for a quick bike ride around the neighborhood. I rode up to one of many entries in the Charles Village Sandwich Shoppe Wars (Quiznos was rightly the first casualty), lunched, and then continued on up the hill and over toward Roland Park to meet S. for coffee. I am up in this neighborhood all the time, but for some reasons, this was the first time I’d noticed the monument set back behind the trees circling that tiny sliver that gets to be called a park. It’s a monument to the Confederate women of Maryland, “The Brave at Home” who “In Difficulty and Danger/Regardless of Self/They Fed the Hungry/Clothed the Needy/Nursed the Wounded/and/Comforted the Dying.” Now, this describes a whole lot of women during all kinds of wards–declared or not–but this isn’t a monument to women, mothers, nurses, caretakers, or anything like that, so I call bullshit. This is a monument to the Confederacy in a city in a state that never left the Union, even if a lot of a small number of Baltimoreans were up for that. This is a monument signaling a reunion between white people as part of the reiteration of the national commitment to white supremacy after a war that ended slavery, yes, but not the common sense and ideologies that underlay that system. Or it’s just an old statue in a park, so whatever. It fades into the background–it always has for me–but it shouldn’t, because this might be an old statue, but the ideas behind it still animate our politics, our geography, our representations, our everyday. And then I had a large carrot juice and a peanut butter brownie before walking back to Waverly and then riding laps around my neighborhood before a stop home for dinner with the dear neighbors and a ride down to the bar to see N. for a recreation of a night at that bar three months ago that started something really, really good. Thanks, as always, to my bicycle for hanging with me through the righteous anger and the happy pleasure of all the place to place.
So, it’s kind of like a Fox News Monument.