Remembering Jefferson Davis

Back when Barack Obama and Joe Biden were running against John McCain and Sarah Palin, we flew to St. Louis to drive my wife’s mother out to a family reunion on their old compound in Christian County, Kentucky. Milo, two and a half years old, needed a daily drive to get him down for a nap.

South-central Kentucky’s a beautiful landscape filled with working farms and old cabins. Its small towns are very small … and dry. No liquor sales ever. Not even in the many Mexican restaurants that fill their culinary menu now.

The Jefferson Davis Memorial State Park, within a half hour’s drive, hosted the fifth tallest monument in America.


The town of Fairview is home to fewer than 300 people. The massive 351-foot obelisk to the president of the Confederate States of America, who spent his first two years in the community formerly known as Davisburg before moving on to a boyhood on a Louisiana plantation, was finished in the 1920s and listed on the National Registry of Historic Places in 1973. It’s the tallest concrete cast structure ever built in America.

How do you take down such a bad idea? Can one?

There’s no business near Fairview, not even a gas station. The state park’s visitor center, when I visited, seemed closed more often than it was open. Do you tear the statue down? Do you just let this thing be forgotten? Should its name be changed?

I recall noticing no signs for Obama or any other Democrat as I drove those Christian County roads a dozen years ago. Milo slept soundly.

When I got back to the family compound, I hatched and implemented a plan. I changed every station on every television in every one of the half-dozen houses there over the coming days to an Obama-Biden infomercial station.

Read more installments of Village Voices by Paul Smart.