Blog: Statues Up Or Down

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Americans now seem to be obsessed with the latest subject of the day—whether statues should stay up or be taken down. I, who have strong opinions on almost everything in the world, have no horse in this race, and let me tell you why.

As some of you know, I was mayor of a New Jersey town (Fort Lee) and then administrator of the New Jersey State Energy Office. You can go anywhere in New Jersey—all 21 counties, 250 boroughs, 52 cities, 15 towns, 244 townships and 4 villages—and I can assure you that no matter how hard you search, you will not find a single statue of me. Yes, if truth be told, I am 100 percent statue-less!

Now, were there to be a statue of me somewhere, which there is most assuredly not, then I might have a strong opinion as to whether my statue should stay up or come down. For me, that would be a no-brainer. The statue of me should most definitely not come down regardless of any nefarious things that I might have done during my life. It should remain upright and proud for all eternity.

In this entire debate about whether some statues should fall and, if so, which ones, there seems to be a major perspective completely overlooked. I am referring to the perspective of our fine feathered friends who need these statues for perching purposes.

If you have ever looked at a statue for more than a fleeting second (I normally do not give statues a second look), you more often than not will see a bird, most commonly a pigeon, adorn the statue often at its highest point. Pigeons love to perch on the top of the figure’s head, and as pigeons are prone to do, to decorate the statue with its droppings. I am not sure how we are honoring our departed by subjecting them to this humiliating situation, no matter how pleasing it might be for the pigeons among us.

On further reflection, I have reconsidered and want to be on record that no matter how strongly people support a statue in my memory, I refuse to be a dropping off place for our pigeon population.