There’s been a lot of chatter this week about monuments to confederate leaders and soldiers. I can see both sides of the debate in light of the way these sculptures have attracted the attention of white nationalists and neo-Nazis. Prior to that, I can’t say that many people I know paid much attention to these landmarks. It’s tempting to believe that the controversy is all a lot of noise about nothing significant, yet we are at a cultural crossroads. Introspection is always a good idea.
I do think we must preserve our history for future generations, yet context is very important. These statues were initially erected as a spit in the face of African-Americans and a nod to racist whites. That was the subtext, anyway. The key is to remember and learn from bad history, not honor it.
The Nazis burned and destroyed many items, statues, and historic buildings in Europe during the war. They weren’t all beautiful or representative of things everyone appreciated, but they are lost forever more.
Let statues and history be as it is, otherwise future generations will never know how their forefathers made mistakes and got them to where they are now.
Statues should exist to honor, not teach… and there’s nothing honorable about committing treason against the US or fighting to continue slavery. Some pieces of history belong in a museum, not up on a pedestal.
To quote my friend Jim, “It’d be nice if we cared this much about getting health care for real living people and not worrying about stone carvings of dead ones.”