NC County Commissioner Thinks Slaves Were Just ‘Workers’ (VIDEO/TWEETS)

To hear a number of elected officials in the former Confederacy talk, the furor over Confederate monuments is a lot of fuss over nothing. But a county commissioner in North Carolina may have inadvertently proven why this is far from being nothing. He harrumphed that his ancestors didn’t have slaves–they had “workers.”

On Monday night, the board of county commissioners in Alamance County, roughly halfway between Greensboro and Raleigh, had an unscheduled discussion about a Confederate statue in downtown Graham. Several members of a group called Alamance County Taking Back Alamance County urged the commissioners to ensure that the statue stay where it is.

They found a receptive audience. Four of the five members let it be known they wanted the monument to stay put. But the most breathtaking comments came from commissioner Tim Sutton. Watch here.

Sutton, a member of the local chapter of the Sons of the Confederacy, recalled a story his grandmother told him about her father–his great-grandfather.

“It is my understanding that when he died, from Sarah, my grandmother, that some guys on the farm, you can call them slaves if you want to, but I would just call them workers, that they raised a good bit of my family. When the time came, my great-grandmother gave them land.”

No, Tim. They weren’t just workers. They¬†lost the most important part of their dignity–their freedom.

Sutton doubled down in an interview with freelance criminal justice writer Josie Duffy Rice.

Wow. They had a place to live, but they didn’t have their freedom until the end of the war.

Sutton was slightly calmer in a follow-up interview with The (Burlington) Times-News, saying that the slaves–er, workers–were “treated humanely” and were considered part of the family. However, when asked about whether they were purchased, he bristled visibly, saying the interview had become “quite targeted.” He also claimed that the media was trying to “split a hair an/or nitpick” his comments.

Let’s say it all together as a group, Tim. Slaves, by definition, are not merely workers. They were considered the owner’s personal property, and as such were treated as commodities. Pointing that out is not nitpicking. It’s merely stating a fact.

If Sutton has anything left in him, he will apologize, and apologize right now. Drop him a line at tim.sutton at almamance-nc dot com.

(featured image: screenshot courtesy Spectrum News)

Darrell is a 30-something graduate of the University of North Carolina who considers himself a journalist of the old school. An attempt to turn him into a member of the religious right in college only succeeded in turning him into the religious right's worst nightmare--a charismatic Christian who is an unapologetic liberal. His desire to stand up for those who have been scared into silence only increased when he survived an abusive three-year marriage. You may know him on Daily Kos as Christian Dem in NC. Follow him on Twitter @DarrellLucus or connect with him on Facebook. Click here to buy Darrell a Mello Yello.