No one can quite sum up the damage that Hurricane Harvey has caused on Texas' gulf coast so far, especially since the natural disaster is still ongoing. But people have a remarkable capacity to make even tiny bits of lemonade from the worst lemons. Now, because of Harvey, Twitter knows exactly what to replace those Confederate monuments with.
One user tweeted an image originally posted by the Harris County Sheriff's Office, of a deputy wading out of a house through thigh-deep water with a young child on each arm. The sheriff's deputy happens to be black — and the two children happen to be white. In the midst of a nationwide discussion on what to do with the numerous monuments to Confederate figures scattered across the country, one Twitter user posted the HCSO's image with a new caption: "I have an idea for replacing one of those statues..."
When the Harris County Sheriff's Office initially posted the photo, they weren't making a racial statement, or a comment on anything besides their efforts to help people out of the very scary situations Harvey has created. It was a simple update, saying "HCSO deputies are out in the Blackhorse subdivision still working high water rescues. #Harvey."
In the heated, racially-charged political environment that currently exists in America, though, it can be difficult to view even the most benign images without looking through the lens of race. Twitter user FishingForTruth used that lens to distinguish this photo as one that could be a symbol for healing across racial lines — the exact opposite of what the Confederate statues represent.
Instead of honoring men who fought to tear the country into two, why not honor a man who is fighting to save children's lives, especially when the image is a perfect example of racial coexistence?
The sheriff's deputy, of course, was just doing his job, as are so many other first responders across the state of Texas right now. Texas has been banding together to help those affected by Harvey, and if you look through the stories of these myriad heroic acts, there's nothing about race. They're stories of people helping people; getting each other out of flooded houses and cars; saving each other's pets, even saving each other's lives. These sorts of tragedies always bring out the best in people, and there are plenty of monuments to first responders, for example to the first responders who immediately came to the scene on 9/11.
Although it would surely take more than a Twitter post for local or state governments to consider it, why not start a movement to fill the empty pedestals left by torn down Confederate monuments with men like this black sheriff's deputy who saved two young white children? His deed was undoubtedly heroic — and he and his colleagues deserve all the recognition they can get.