Should We Tear Down All the Statues?

USA

As I’ve said in the past, I’m not a fan of Nazi’s. Anti-Semitism sickens me. It’s also deeply insane, as the Jewish people are some of the most industrious, creative, and inspiring people in the world. I have family and relatives who are Jewish; some of my closest friends are Jewish.

Racism against black Americans is just as deeply troubling. African Americans have helped shape our country. Prominent black leaders helped make America what it is, from the very beginning. Hating someone because of the color of their skin is stupid, childish, and ultimately self-defeating.

As a Yankee, I even understand many black Americans’ disgust for Confederate icons. Coming from the North, I have zero sympathy, interest, or compassion for men who led the South in a bloody and violent revolt. A revolt that started largely over slavery. I can understand why many Americans, black, white or otherwise, would see statues of Robert E. Lee and other Confederate leaders as an ugly reminder of a dark period in our nation’s history.

For black Americans, it is a reminder that their ancestors, their great-grandfathers perhaps, were owned and dehumanized. It’s beyond painful. It can be humiliating and demoralizing.

But should we tear down their statues? Should the decision on how to treat that part of our history be decided by angry activists, who seem to carry with them a disgust over—not just Confederate history—but our entire country’s history?

I’ve written in the past about how radical leftists’ philosophy is very different from conservatives and most non-liberals. They don’t see America’s history as a proud and victorious one. They don’t consider the story of our Independence something to cherish. They don’t think about our Founding Fathers with pride, including James Madison, who penned the all-important Bill of Rights.

To them, America is a problem that needs to be fixed. The Founding Fathers were evil monsters because they were, by and large, wealthy slave owners. For some, it’s just enough that they were white men. Because of their flaws, all of their great accomplishments should be rejected. The very principles upon which the United States was founded don’t matter. America—to them—was built on slavery, oppression, exploitation, and persecution. Therefore its identity, history, and virtues should be erased, replaced by something else.

Yes, there is some ugly stuff in America’s past. Charlottesville proved there’s some ugly stuff in America’s present. But does that mean our laws, traditions, and love of liberty should be discarded? Does it mean that the Judeo-Christian principles that inspired our Founding Fathers to fight tyranny should be ignored? Does that mean the Western values that led to the formation of a democratic republic, one unlike any other, should be replaced with something else?

When you look at the agenda of the radical left, you don’t see anything pretty. At worst, they want to plunge America into chaos and anarchy, where the rule of law is replaced by mob violence. At best, they want to replace our society—built on the virtues of democracy, human rights, and capitalism—with some mutated form of socialism.

Time and again we’ve seen how socialism fails a country. Just look at how well the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics faired. Or the great socialist country of Venezuela. But I’m not interested in discussing that today. My real question is: should we tear down statues of people, just because we don’t like them?

Robert E. Lee led the Confederate army. He represented a period of time when the South rebelled from the Union over slavery. They fought a war where brother killed brother, in order to protect a practice that few today would condone.

Yet for many in the South, Robert E. Lee was not a slathering monster who wanted to torture black people. He was standing up for more than just slavery, he was standing up for the values and traditions of a region in the United States. A region that was watching everything it knew slip away.

The era leading up to the Civil War saw radical transformation throughout the country. America was growing. Technology was changing the way people worked, traveled, and lived. Industries were shifting, and the basic economy of the South was threatened. Many Southerners feared that the federal government—based very close to the North—would leave them behind.

In no way do I support the secession of the South or the subsequent war. But the issues facing the South were far more complex than just, “they were racist slave owners.”

The modern media want you to think in simple black and white terms. Trump supporters are racists. Liberals are limp wristed pansies (even I often admit there are many decent liberals). All cops want to kill black people. All whites enjoy a level of privilege that lets them suppress minorities.

Life is far more complicated than that. And even in the case of the Civil War, more was going on than just racists trying to hold onto slavery. People were dealing with radical changes to their way of life. They felt like the federal government—under the leadership of a Republican—was going to betray them (sound familiar, liberals?), violating their deeply-held beliefs.

Figures that led the Confederacy were—in their minds—standing up to oppression, injustice, and a federal government running out of control. Today, many southerners respect Lee and other leaders, not because they were racist slave owners, but because they fought to preserve the South, its values, and way of life.

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