Let natural vegetation cover the Stone Mountain monument.
That's one of several proposals made by Atlanta Beltline progenitor Ryan Gravel and historian Scott Morris to diminish the power of the gigantic sculpture of Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson and Jefferson Davis.
Gravel and Morris in an opinion article in the British-based The Guardian say they want the 150-foot carving removed altogether, but admit that it's too large for that to happen. Instead, they call for immediate actions that would obstruct public viewing.
"The sculpture is an irreparable scar on an ancient mountain with a long history of habitation and use by indigenous people," according to the article written by Gravel with historical information from Morris.
The article points out that although the carving originated in the early 20th century, it was not completed until 1970, a symbol of Georgia's defiance to federal civil rights legislation and Supreme Court decisions. The carving was completed as Atlanta built a national reputation as "the city too busy to hate."
Without periodic maintenance, trees and plants would grow from the carving's mountain crevices, Gravel says. He even wants the state to blast soil into the carving to enhance the vegetation's growth. The monument overgrown with vegetation would symbolize the collapse of the Confederacy, he says
He also wants to stop mowing of the Memorial Lawn, the gathering spot for viewing of the park's laser show, cast upon the monument. With the lawn eventually turning into a forest, the laser show would cease.
I doubt that Gravel's proposals will ever be adapted, but I'd love to see trees and brush growing from the hateful sculpture of the three Confederate leaders on horseback.
One of Gravel's proposals should be carried out with little opposition: Removing all references to the Confederacy in the park, such as renaming Robert E. Lee Boulevard and Stonewall Jackson Drive.
The article concludes with a call for long-range planning so that the park represents all of the state's citizens. Gravel points out that demographic changes will give Georgia a majority non-white population in a few years.
That Gravel published his article in the American edition of a British publication raises the question of why The Atlanta Journal-Constitution didn't print it instead of its usual banal opinion pieces. Did the AJC think Gravel's proposals too controversial for conservative suburban readers, if any remain?
Perhaps our fine local newspaper is doing a major article on Stone Mountain's future and why Georgia glorifies the Confederacy at its major state park.