Today, the only option that was acceptable was applied to a Confederate statue.
The Confederate statue of General Robert E. Lee was hoisted away from its place of prominence in Charlottesville on Saturday. While its placement for a very long time was one of deepest disappointment, the passionate call for its removal grew louder in the last few years following the 2017 white supremacist rally held in Charlottesville.
The statuary of those who worked to destroy our government, split the Union, and undermine our Constitution should never have been lionized. To have allowed their images to remain standing only served to further the Lost Cause charade that was meant to blunt the racist and hateful underpinning not only of the Civil War, but also the Jim Crow South.
It needs to be noted that many of these statues were placed not in the 1860s, but rather in the first years of the 1900s. The message they were intended to give was not lost on Blacks at the time.
Nor on those today who look back and grasp the meaning of that racial behavior.
The only way to view Confederates is the same way we look at any treasonous group. Call me old-fashioned but treason bothers me deeply. The statues can stand in museums and be placed in historical context. But they must not be allowed to be placed in any public square.
To think that Robert Lee should sit, for instance, on any courthouse square when blacks of his time had no role whatsoever in any sense of the justice system, makes as much sense as placing a bust of Hitler into libraries in the international studies department. For him to been placed in a location of honor in Charlottesville was a slap to decency nationwide.
The Civil War is unique in that the winning side did not punish the losing one. Though there was a discussion of charging Confederate leaders with treason, in the end, the Union decided that it was better to be lenient and focus on reuniting the country. It was an error in judgment that impacts us yet today.
An unexpected consequence of this can be demonstrated with the Confederate leadership living to write their own ‘glorious’ stories in an effort to rewrite history. It should surprise no one that they attempted to make themselves seem as noble. The Lost Cause is a distortion that is so laughable, if it were not so painfully absurd. And dangerous.
But Lee and all those who worked to undermine the union were not noble. They were traitors to the United States. The leaders and fighters in that effort to destroy the Union must not be regarded with an appraisal other than treasonous. Their statues must be hauled down and carted away.
Today on Facebook when I posted the news from Charlottesville a friend commented with a tone-perfect summation to this matter. He stated statues such as the one removed today should be placed in an area with proper context. Then added the following.
Next to others who scored major military victories when taking up arms against the United States. Maybe the generals who attacked Pearl Harbor and the bin Laden who planned the September 11th attacks. Also large plaques with the original language from the Confederacy’s founding document, explicitly spelling out that the Confederacy fought first and foremost to preserve slavery. Draw direct lines from the states’ rights to enslave Black Americans to states’ rights to reject Brown v Board & Civil Rights Acts and Voting Rights Acts. Not a big leap to today’s disenfranchisement efforts. If Robert E Lee & company always stands next to fellow enemies of America, then the statues can stand. Maybe throw in a Derek Chauvin for good measure.
And so it goes.