As I point out at the end of this letter, there are unquestionably deep moral and scientific arguments for removing the McKinley statue from Arcata and renewing it to McKinleyville, but the more intriguing question is, “What do Arcatans replace it with?” This question could provide such a bountiful wealth of fodder for future City Council meetings!
In fact, it would be, of course, an impossible and endless exercise for the council and citizens. And a concrete statue would be so retro for Arcata anyway, a place with pride of inclusivity and progress. I mean, rock statues of old warriors and such is so 18th century and so friggin’ boring, are you kidding me? for Arcata?
I envision a more progressive, fun and inclusive feast, where the iconic and inspirational representation of our beloved heroes and ancestors and ideals can only be non exclusive because it will be changed every year, or as often as civic yearnings and needs lead us.
This can be accomplished by building the statue out of tough, but bio degradable material using a 3-D printer, and replacing it with a new and different statue whenever the time is right. Adjacent educational or inspirational plaques would be done also, of course.
Another option that will accomplish similar opportunities would be to present the statue with holographic technology. Either way, the possibilities become wonderful. One year we could have Martin Luther King, Jr. The next year we could have Tim McKay, then the Grateful Dead. We could have our beloved rag man, Peetee, for awhile.
Why, we could have a conversation, maybe Arlo Guthrie talking with Rob Arkley! Maybe a reconciliation, or a marriage, Romeo and Juliet. We could change it out for the seasons or for some important event.
So that is my idea for replacing the Statue of McKinley. I want to see Arcata step into the future and lead the way, again. I want to see the McKinley statue have a respectful and meaningful home.
Now, back to the current location and the statue currently on the Plaza. To me it is obvious that the statue belongs in McKinleyville because it is McKinleyville and not Arcata that has “McKinley” in its name. Its a divine sign, indicating possession. It’s a no brainer. It is like gravity. Hey, the Earth is round. It is why we are called, “McKinleyville.” Its our statue.
Not only that, I strongly believe that Arcata owes McKinleyville quite a bundle. 1. McKinleyville lost its unique and focused voice (McKPress) when Arcata (Jack and Kevin) co opted our McK Press paper to form the Mad River Bunion, and 2. the airport is still known as the Eureka Arcata Airport (ACV, google it) even though the county tried to really screw up its name.
So … Arcata took Mack’s newspaper, and has name possession of our airport. We want the statue!
And, of course, McKinleyvillains will treat the statue with the utmost courtesy and respect, and will mention Arcata in the informative plaque attached to the statue, and if we ever charge admission, we will give Arcatans half-price, and we will quit whining about the Bunion and the Airport. And who knows, in a country and traditional way, we might be able to help out with the funds for providing HSU with a 3-D printer for manufacturing the ephemeral statue/touchstones for the Arcata Plaza.
But we are keeping our totem pole, so don’t even think about including that in the deal. Or just call me privately about that. Thanks for reading my letter.
George Waller has lived and worked in McKinleyville and/or Arcata since 1984