It’s pretty safe to say that America has lost her way a bit and last week’s violent white supremacy clash with members of the alt-left in Charlottesville, VA only prove our young country is in a precarious moral state.
As a measure to combat racism, many southern cities are taking down monuments with a Confederate connection. In Baltimore, four statues were removed overnight – Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson, the Confederate Women of Maryland, the Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Monument, and a statue of Roger B. Taney, the former chief justice who authored the Dred Scott decision.
New Orleans took down statues earlier this spring and plans to take down more. In Lexington, KY several statues are also coming down and today, Vice Magazine tweeted that we should blow up Mt. Rushmore because “they also enslaved their fellow man, committing special kinds of inhumane acts that should never be confined to footnotes.” Vice later removed and reworded the Tweet stating, “We do not condone violence in any shape or form, and the use of “blow up” in the original headline as a rhetorical device was misguided and insensitive. We apologize for the error.”
The argument for taking down the statues is pretty simple: the statues are a symbol of white supremacy and are glorifying a heritage that fought to maintain slavery. Many in favor of removing the statues suggest they should instead go in a museum.
Those who oppose taking the statues down say we’re trying to “whitewash” our history and the statues are about southern pride and not monuments commemorating a pro-slavery rebellion.
Honestly, both sides make valid points HOWEVER, racism will still exist no matter where the monuments end up. Removing a statue of Robert E. Lee won’t suddenly change a KKK member’s heart – he or she needs a Higher Power (aka GOD) to do that.
You would think that by 2017 our country would have moved past the racial divides of our past but sadly, racism isn’t simply something that dies out after a generation. It’s a cancer; an evil that haunts the history of our nation and it isn’t getting going away, no matter how many marches or anti-Trump protests the progressives organize.
A statue is just a statue. We put them up all over the country to represent influential people in our heritage and even pop culture icons. Should we take down the statue of Kurt Cobain in his hometown of Aberdeen? He shot himself in the head with a shotgun and that’s definitely not something we should celebrate. Or how about the iconic Andrew Jackson statue at Jackson Square in New Orleans. He was responsible for genocide against the Native Americans, yet his statue is one of the most Instagrammable spots in the country. See where I’m going with this? If we start removing all the things that offend us, we’ll have to remove nearly everything.
So I say, leave the statues up. Teach your children about the Civil War, slavery and how it’s wrong to treat people differently because of their skin color. Point out the flaws of the men who fought on both sides and talk about how we can learn from our mistakes.