Roy Exum: Berke Is In Triple Digits

Friday, April 13, 2018 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

One of the worst mistakes we as a people make is comparing what happened 150 years ago to today’s standards. “What happened back then has no place to what is happening now,” is the universal belief and the easiest proof is either the computer you are looking at right now or what medicines your doctor may prescribe to keep you alive. Curiously, about the only things that have remained constant are hatred, prejudice and wars where men try to kill one another.

After a story on Thursday where I labeled Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke and city attorney Wade Hinton as cowards for abandoning the city’s Confederate Cemetery – this only because the two want an updated “pound of flesh” from the Civil War -- the reader response was overwhelming. I’m not saying Andy is the worst mayor in the 177 years since Chattanooga was founded, but if we rated all of the mayors, and included all who have ever run for the office in the city’s history, 1 being the best, then 2 then 3 and so forth, Andy would surely be in triple digits.

Hinton, blatantly wasting the taxpayers’ time and money to establish the city has no trustee’s responsibility to dead citizens past, can now rid himself of any notions of ascending to the reclusive Berke’s ivory tower. Those who are so morally corrupt that they actually plot to disrespect the dead and revenge a 150-year-old scar should take their rightful perch in a much more menial job.

Ironically, most people in Hamilton County today were unaware there even was a Confederate cemetery until Berke became so desperate to join his deep-left colleagues. Now many are eager to know all about it. The radical lefties are snatching up Confederate monuments like some pimple-faced fraternity boys on an old-fashioned panty raid. The rest of the world sits in stunned silence at such foolishness and moral depravity.

And of all those who lie in rest, perhaps it is Shaderick Searcy who is the most defiled by our City Hall goons. A former slave, his is one of the more celebrated graves inside the walls and, to fully understand the story, you must also understand the Deep South. I am blessed to have some Mississippi lineage, since I have spent weeks at a time as a young child on my father’s family plantation.

Shaderick was born a slave in Talbot County, Ga., and it’s not a stretch to believe Talbotton, the county seat, is a lot like my Yazoo County, Miss. In Talbot County, Ga., today, there aren’t but 17 people per square mile and Yazoo City today doesn’t have more than 30,000 citizens – yes, even today. What’s wonderful about that is while growing up, back then as today, blacks and whites are constant playmates and become best friends.

When the war drums began to pound in the mid-1800s, a Dr. Searcy’s two boys, James and Kitchen, left Talbotton to join the Army of Tennessee and Shaderick, a bonded servant of the family, went along to tend to his two young masters. I’m more of a realist than that. I’m figuring the three were best friends. I guarantee you I know how this works from the Southern experience.

Obviously, when the two Searcy boys mustered in, Shaderick took the family name and joined up, too. James was killed at the Battle of Franklin and Kitchen fell at Kennesaw, but Shaderick fought until the end. We are told he moved to Chattanooga in 1903 and until his death in 1937 at the age of 91, he was quite active in Confederate Veterans activities and was buried with honors.

The zealots claim the entire war was over slavery and that’s hard for me to swallow. Sure, emancipation was huge, but I know nothing of the real truth back then other than what I’ve read and heard all of my life. I’m certain there are thousands of “the rest of the story” that I will never be clear about until I’m in heaven having some heavenly manna with U.S. Grant and General Mattis.

I do know this: Last August, when Berke announced he and Hinton were exploring abandoning the cemetery, he spoke of his horror and dismay as the President “failed his leadership test to condemn bigotry and domestic terrorism” when a person was killed in the Charlottesville debacle. Since then it has been proven that Charlottesville’s ultra-liberal mayor all but arranged the catastrophe himself. The truth? Trump had absolutely zero to do with any of it and Berke, Stanford educated, knows that’s true.

Shamefully, with Andy Berke it only gets better. He said last August, on record, “I thought about how the basic American values taught by my family and my teachers – equality, liberty, community – were being subverted before our very eyes,” was his poignant message at the time.

We agree with Berke 100 percent but – whoa! – just exactly who is it who is subverting equality, liberty, and community? Berke thought he and Hinton could wail against what happened 150 years ago and not get caught displaying their own prejudice and inequality in 2018. A rash of my readers are incredulous at such brazen behavior.

Fast forward to this morning: Andy is being haunted anew and why he dares continue to think he’s invisible defies any and all explanation. If you have kept up with the self-avowed “magnificent” project that has become the mayor’s folly that was once Miller Park, you know the whole of downtown has been wondering what will happen to the residents of the old Hotel Patten, where Section 8 appointees routinely set fires, constantly loiter in the park, and bring great discredit not three blocks from Andy’s Ivory Tower.

Seriously, fire and police records reveal it is on the “frequent flyer list” almost every day and the police would do well to camp a manned cruiser at both front and back doors to avail expedited service.

Surprise! Surprise! As the finishing stages begin on the multi-million-dollar venture, it was just learned this Wednesday there are plans to sell the building to a new owner who soon will begin a $25 million renovation. Isn’t it wonderful when the timing is just right? And the best part? A huge renovation means all the Indians must leave the reservation, to be driven to a new type of Oklahoma in a trail of tears and points beyond.

There you have it -- this week’s version of Andy Berke’s equality, liberty, and community.

The question is, how many times you gonna’ watch the trick before you realize the poor rabbit ain’t got nothing to do with it?

royexum@aol.com



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