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Straight Talk About Confederate Statues

August 17, 2017

President Trump today foolishly decried the movement to take down “beautiful” Confederate statues and monuments in cities across the country.

“Sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments,” the president said on Twitter. “You can’t change history, but you can learn from it. Robert E Lee, Stonewall Jackson — who’s next, Washington, Jefferson?

Hold on, Mr. President.  Let us get a few things straight.

America’s original sin was slavery.  The Civil War was fought over slavery.    Washington and Jefferson fought and dared to build a new nation with the knowledge that ideals would grow and develop the nation into a better place.

The statues in question do underscore for me two things.  First, there were those who tried to destroy the Union and would take any steps to achieve that aim.   There is no way that any person who made such a move against the national government should he honored with a statue. Call me old-fashioned but treason bothers me deeply.  I understand there are those who believe there was some honor in their cause but there is no logical way to not see that lame attempt at legitimacy as anything other than what we now call spin.

Second, the lengths that some Confederates wanted to go by talking about taking over Cuba and other places underscores what their cause was all about and how they regarded people of color. Sensible people do not honor such types of people.

The statues can stand in museums and be placed in context so that what some now desire—that they can be educational—can be undertaken. But to think that Lee should sit on any courthouse square when blacks of his time had no role whatsoever in any sense of the justice system—and he worked to make that so–makes as much sense as placing a bust of Hitler into libraries in the international studies department.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 17, 2017 4:23 PM

    Thanks for link–used your post as what you wrote was tone-perfect. Thanks for sharing. And writing in this time of turmoil.

  2. August 17, 2017 3:46 PM

    Gregory — here’s my take on Trump and Charlottesville.

    http://schmaltz.typepad.com/blog/2017/08/tony-and-trump.html

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