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Conservative leader/pundit rips city on Vance Monument ‘agenda’
Wednesday, 31 March 2021 21:35
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A group trying to save the Vance Monument from demoliton by filing a lawsuit against the City of Asheville and petitioning the N.C. Historical Commission of a violation of a law prohibiting the tearing down of national monuments probably will be successful in its efforts, long-time Buncombe County conservative leader-pundit Chad Nesbitt told the Daily Planet in a telephone interview on the morning of March 25, just before presstime.

The nearly 125-year-old downtown Asheville landmark honors Zebulon B. Vance, a former Confederate governor who owned slaves.

“I can tell you the taking down of the Vance Monument is just the tip of the iceberg — this type of Democratic control.”

The planned demolition of “the Vance Monument is part of erasing American history,” Nesbitt added, noting that  it is listed as “a national monument and (therefore) it’s protected under (ex-president Donald) Trump’s executive order” that protected national monuments from being razed. “And (President Joe) Biden has not changed that order, as of yet.”

Specifically, Nesbitt asserted, “The Vance Monument is protected under that National Historic Registry — and every attorney I’ve spoken to said it cannot be removed.” He added that he had spoken with several attorney about the issue.

So he (attorney H. Edward Phillips) put a stop to them (the city) doing anything for now” on the Vance Monument.”

Nesbitt also leveled a verbal jab at the Asheville Citizen Times, a long-time nemesis of his with which he has traded shots through the years, for a headline on its March 25 online story, “Confederate group sues Asheville over Vance Monument removal; lawyer represented family of KKK member.”

“We interviewed Edward Phillips yesterday (March 24) live on Skyline News (his website and Facebook news and opinion business) and I don’t believe him to be a white supremecist at all.”

As for the group to which the ACT was referring in its headline, Nesbitt said, “I don’t know who the group is and I’ve only talked to the attorney. But under no circumstances do I think this person (Phllips) is a white supremacist….”

Further, Nesbitt asserted, “The Citizen TImes is a left-wing, failing newspaper. They’re failing because of reporters like this. If everyone in the South” examined their geneology, “their ancestors were probably in the Confederacy or in the Civil War,” including reporters at the ACT.

Nesbitt’s “ancestors’” reference was to reports in the ACT that Phillips’ representation in the past of several different groups trying to preserve Confederate monuments, including representing the descendents of famous Confederate cavalry leader Nathan Forest , who later became a leader of the KKK in its early days.

“Let’s be frank, there were Union soldiers who believed in slavery, just as there were Confederate soldiers” holding such views,” Nesbitt noted.

When told that the story referenced a “Confederate history group,” he asserted, “That does not make someone who studies the Confederacy a white supremacist.” He said the headline calling a Confederate history group a “Confederate group,” is akin to calling a Nazi history group “a Nazi group” — terribly misleading.

“If they want to put their money where their mouth is —  the founder of The Asheville Citizen was a member of the Ku Klux Klan and for Joel Burgess not to put that in his story is typical and hypocritical of their failing newspaper.”

(The Asheville Citizen, which later was combined with the Asheville Times to form the Asheville Citizen Times, was founded in 1870 by Randolph Abbott Shotwell, “who conceived the newspaper as a voice for conservative-Democratic politics,” according to the website

After launching the Asheville Citizen, Shotwell’s “political activities soon embroiled him with the Ku Klux Klan. Though never a member, he acted as a moderating force in an effort to modify the outrages being committed,” the website noted.

“His involvement with the Klan, however, provided his Radical enemies with an excuse, and he was arrested on 5 July 1871. Brought to trial in the senate chamber in Raleigh before a partisan judge and a carefully selected jury, Shotwell was convicted and sentenced to six years’ confinement at Albany, N.Y., and fined $5,000. 

“Offered an immediate pardon if he implicated leading Democratic politicians, Shotwell refused and was sent to the federal penitentiary. In late 1872 President Ulysses S. Grant granted him an unconditional pardon,” reported.

On the matter of white racism, Nesbitt said, “As a matter of fact, I don’t think there are any white supremacists I know of in Asheville, in Buncombe County or in Western North Carolina.

“People are getting labeled ‘racist’ by these Demcorats simply because people hire based on their qualifications, not the color of their skin or gender identity. It’s important to know that if someone’s gay and their qualifications are best, we (conservatives) hire the gay. And I personally have done so.”

 In taking a verbal shot at Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer, who is a Democrat, Nesbitt said, “It was the KKK” that was terrorizing — and sometimes killing — black people and championing a return to slavery.

What’s more, Nesbitt said, “Let’s be clear that the KKK was the militant wing of the Democratic Party....

“If they (the Democrats) really want to go on out there — then change the name of the City of Asheville, Merrimon Avenue, Patton Avenue, Woodfin, Weaverville,” all of which he said were named after men who now would be considered politically incorrects by today’s cancel culture.”

As a matter of historic trivia, Nesbitt noted that, at one point, “Vance was voted in as a U.S. senator — and the Republicans would not let him take his seat,” so it is ironic to Nesbitt that today it is the Democrats who villainize Vance.

He added, “It was the Van Winkle Law Firm (for which Manheimer is an attorney) that invested thousands of dollars in the rebuild of the Vance Monument around 2005” — and now the mayor and her firm have switched allegiance to the anti-Vance faction.

As for the current state of affairs, Nesbitt said, “What the city’s done is allow the vandals to paint the monument, which is what it wanted. They’re trying to say, ‘If it’s constantly being vandalized, it could be removed.’ That’s what the city’s trying to do,” with the idea that the public would be less opposed to its removal if it became an eyesore.

“This petition which the attorney (opposing the monument removal) has put into place is putting a stop to what the city is trying to do. It eventually will be stopped,” he said.

As for the city’s “agenda” on the Vance Monument and just about every other issue, Nesbitt said, “that agenda is ‘votes.’ They think by keeping things stirred up with racial-type problems, it’s going to somehow get them re-elected. It’s just ridiculous that they think that.

“This is the most liberal county in the state of North Carolina. Why keep pushing racism and gender issues?”

For the future of the Vance Monument, Nesbitt recommends “rename it. Come up with something where everybody can come together. But that’s the thing about the Democrats — they like division.”

Nesbitt suggested, “Take ‘Vance’ off it. If you rededicate it, say, ‘Here’s where the Vance Monument once stood.’

“This is not about the people of today. Calling us ‘white supremacists.’ Wanting to keep the monument doesn’t mean we’re white supremacists. We’re not…. I’d like to see it rededicated... If you named it after some black leader, it would bring more division... I would make it dedicated to ‘the unity of people.’”

As for council’s 6-1 vote to remove the monument, Nesbitt said, “No. I’m not surprised.”

Regarding the demolition cost, temporary planter arrangement and then “visioning” future possibilities for the monument site, Nesbitt noted, “That’s … a total waste of taxpayer’s money. All for a Democrat agenda. The City of Asheville is supposed (has a simple task) to take care of our streets” and other infrastructure. “All this ‘cultural stuff’ that they’re adding in, all this agenda-driven stuff, paid for by the taxpayers... is nonsense, total nonsense.”

In closing the interview, Nesbitt asserted, “People out here have got to fight — which I mean” not violence, but join PACs (political action committees), put our money where our mouths are —  and let these attorneys fight our battles in the court system. When the Dems are held accountable, that’s where they get in trouble.”



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