Every week on Monday, the WoW! community and our invited guests weigh in at the Watcher’s Forum, short takes on a major issue of the day, the culture, or daily living. This week’s Question: Should Monuments, Street Names Etc. Referencing The Confederacy Or Slave Owners Be Removed?
Doug Hagin: I do not think I can think of a more foolish venture than to cede control of what is acceptable to the Left frankly. There are those who have a genuine desire to appease the feelings of others. But, make no mistake, most folks do not care about where those monuments, etc. are located. And, many people, who had ancestors in the Confederate army will be deeply hurt by their removal. But the biggest issue here is who is driving for the erasing of history. Make no mistake, it is the Left, and their agenda is to eradicate all of American history. One way to destroy a nation is to destroy its history/heritage/culture Allowing the Left to dictate is as foolish as allowing the Left to dictate our immigration policies. Giving these miscreants their way is as bright as pouring gas on a kitchen fire. President Trump was correct, today it is Confederates, then the Founders, and so on.
The second thing here is this. As someone who has studied the War Between the States since I was nine, I have learned the war was clearly about numerous things. Dumbing it down to being “all about slavery” or painting the Southern side as evil is intellectually lazy and requires ignoring many factors and the reasons for secession. Several states, Virginia, Arkansas, North Carolina, and Tennessee seceded only after Lincoln call for troops. In short their reason for leaving was that they felt secession legitimate, and refused to fight against states that had chosen that path. Again, historical reality demands we do not allow narratives dictate what parts of history is preserved.
Further, to allow the demonization of Lee, Jackson, Davis, and many other Confederates is a despicable cat of moral cowardice. Those men were not perfect, but the Left readily paints them as comparable to Hitler and as fighting for slavery, and slavery alone. Some on the Right insist on adopting this historically inaccurate narrative. Some even go so far as to paint all Confederates as 19th Century leftists. That is tragic to me. A large part of what drove the nation apart was a disagreement over the proper role of the federal government. That, more than any other fissure caused various states to secede, albeit it over different issues.
What is needed is open debate on the war, its causes, that yes included but was not limited to slavery. We will never get any such dialogue if we allow the media and the Left, but I repeat myself, to use their fake moral outrage to erase history. I have had the privilege to work alongside re-enactors who bring the history of the war and the soldiers to life. I have seen them talk to students of all races about the war, and what soldiers experienced, how they dressed, etc. I have seen their faces engrossed as these walking pieces of history talked to them.
Lastly, as a man who had dozens of ancestors who wore the butternut and grey, I refuse to allow any racist, white nationalist, of any other bottom feeding scum to define the symbols my family blood was shed over. What they do is tantamount to spitting on the graves of my ancestors.
Don Surber: The attempt to liberal-wash history is an element of totalitarianism. A tool. Black history month is no longer about giving African-Americans pride — its stated purpose originally. This has evolved into a blanket revision of history with communism as the font of all that is good in America. Black Republicans slowly fade away in favor of black Communists such as Paul Robeson.
The abandonment of the victory of the Civil War is part of that revisionism. In dividing the races, liberals have eliminated acknowledgement of the sacrifice of white men to end slavery.
“The Battle Hymn of the Republic” got a rewrite eliminating the line “As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free!” This eliminated the role of Christianity in ending slavery, while erasing the death of 300,000 young white men — a considerable portion of the North’s manpower. This was a lot generation that led to the rise of immigration later in the 19th century.
Quite a sacrifice for a still young nation.
President Obama ignored the 150th anniversary of Gettysburg, Appomattox, and even the assassination of Lincoln because it ill-fits the liberal rewrite of history, in which whites are evil and everyone else is good.
As for statues, communities should decide what they choose to honor.
Right now, thugs are taking down statues. They serve a purpose for other powerful people. That is what pawns do.
Rob Miller: As I’ve written elsewhere, it’s obvious to me that Charlottesville was planned and was no accident. The coordinated attacks that broke out afterwards make that obvious, and they include the shooting of 6 police officers over the weekend by #blacklivesmatter thugs.
Meanwhile, prominent ‘Confederate’ Abraham Lincoln had his statue vandalized in his home state of Illinois. In the same city, a black pastor from a black liberation theology church is making headway in renaming George Washington Park, actually comparing the Father of our Country to nazis by saying ‘Jewish people wouldn’t want a park named after Auschwitz.’ Andrew Jackson, who saved the City of New Orleans and whose statue has been a landmark for years in the French Quarter had his statue vandalized so badly by #blacklivesmatter and AntiFa it had to be crated as the city decides what to do about it. The Jefferson Memorial in Washington DC is being pressured by The Trust for the National Mall, a major fund raiser to ‘remake’ the exhibit to emphasize that Jefferson was a slave owner and is threatening to withhold funds unless that happens.
What the Left is doing, of course, is working on rewriting history in their own way. After all, if you can make the Founders despicable, why not the Constitution they wrote? That’s the Left’s end game, along with stifling freedom of speech and ‘thought crimes’ by any means necessary. The Taliban, ISIS, The Soviets and the Nazis used the same tactics.
And of course, the Left is omitting any removal of statues of name changing for their own heroes with far more questionable deeds then men who happened to own a few slaves. Chicago boasts a statue of Lenin, a man who murdered millions. So do Seattle, Los Angeles and New York City. There are several statues and busts of Paul Robeson, who was a Soviet agent and propagandist. Malcolm X has numerous statues, buildings and streets named after him, as well as numerous portraits of him hung in various locations. He even has exhibits lauding him in the Smithsonian and the National Museum of African American History.
In 1961, Malcolm X introduced George Lincoln Rockwell, the leader of the American Nazi Party, on stage at a Nation of Islam rally, and led a standing ovation for Rockwell.
Shortly before that, Malcolm X had met with Klan leaders, including J.B. Stoner who was later convicted of bombing of the Bethel Baptist Church in Birmingham. Malcolm X bonded with the Klan over the same issues he had in common with the Nazis – a belief in separation of the races, opposition to the Civil Rights movement and virulent, hateful anti-semitism, something Malcolm X never made any attempt to hide or apologize for. Here’s a quote from Malcolm X: “The Jew is behind the integration movement, using the Negro as a tool.”
Malcolm X’s Klan meeting cemented a sort of alliance between the Nation of Islam and the KKK against the Civil Rights Movement. As Malcolm X himself admitted, The Nation of Islam received protection for its mosques from the Klan as its part of the deal.
“I sat at the table myself with the heads of the Ku Klux Klan,” Malcolm X later admitted. “From that day onward the Klan never interfered with the Black Muslim movement in the South.”
This is the man held up as an icon for young black Americans. And no one is talking about erasing him from history or even looking at him with any honesty.
So when it comes to demonizing men who were simply defending their homes against armed invasion or the false equivalency of taking men who grew up in different times with different customs and committing the false equivalency of judging them by today’s customs and today’s political correctness, I call that rampant hypocrisy and I call it intolerable.
America would be far better off if those ‘Americans’ who conceive of America as racist, criminal and illegitimate made the decision to leave the country they hate so much. We’d be far better off without these treasonous swine, and they would be able to talk about how superior they are to us while living somewhere more in accord with what passes for their values.
Fausta Rodríguez Wertz: I can not possibly add anything to what Doug said so eloquently
Mike McDaniel: All Americans, as opposed to AINOs, must oppose the left’s demands to remove any public monument or erase any public symbol. The only reason necessary is because they want it. We are in a critical phase of a culture war preceding the Civil War, and if we want to preserve America, we must oppose the left at every turn, for as never before, they have revealed precisely what they want to accomplish: the transformation of American into Cuba, Venezuela, North Korea or any other socialist/communist state. As Margaret Thatcher so presciently said, the trouble with socialism is you always run out of other people’s money. And inevitably, you imprison torture and kill millions upon millions of your own people on that great socialist path for daring to yearn for liberty.
In this particular front of the culture war, the ultimate question is who decides? Who decides what to name streets and public buildings? Who decides which monuments and statues to erect? Who decides what to tear down and rename?
The only legitimate way to make such decisions in our republic is through the legitimate political process. Political correctness and particularly, mob rule, must always be decried for what they are and ruthlessly stamped out. This is also a facet of federalism, of local control, which leftists hate with burning, red-faced, spittle-slinging rage. In such matters, the will of the electorate must lawfully prevail.
The destruction of historic symbols is, virtually without exception, a bad idea. Within a generation, even a handful of years, every lesson that could have been learned is forever lost. We consign future generations to an uncertain future, grounded in nothing more than political correctness. If we don’t know where we’ve been and what we did to get where we are, we have no idea who we are or what we aspire to be. They that have destroyed the past that none may learn from it are surely doomed to repeat its worst and most horrible mistakes, in fact, that’s what they intend.
And should the left win, what will be left? They’ve already suggested the destruction of Mt. Rushmore, anything relating to Washington, Jefferson and even Lincoln. Imagine what will remain: statues of Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, various communist thugs and murderers, cop killers, traitors and corrupt leftist politicians. We would surely see monuments to Castro, Stalin, Lenin, Mao, Pol Pot and other demigods of the left in our nation’s capital. And what of our memorials to the men and women that gave their lives in war to preserve liberty, that gave that last, full measure of devotion to save the intensely ungrateful nations of Europe? Surely none of them would stand, for war is evil, except war to establish the utopia for which the left yearns.
Slavery is, of course, unconscionable, but we cannot judge the past by contemporary measures. America has always been the moral light of the world, the leader in fighting for equality and the rule of law. We overcame slavery and its legacy. The Judeo/Christian tradition triumphed. This is truly what is at stake here, and every monument defaced or destroyed by a leftist mob is one more stake driven into the heart of liberty. Whatever the left wants, oppose it.
Dave Schuler: Communities have and should have the power to erect or remove whatever monuments they care to. In some cases removing Confederate monuments is the right choice. That a century ago the residents of a state or city chose to honor generals who were traitors to the Union does not mean that the present residents should be forced to allow them to remain.
In some cases the monuments should be removed; in others they should be retained but additional context should be added to reflect today’s understandings. As I noted in my post on the subject, in some cases they should remain.
Process is important. The decision should be made with due consideration and with due and democratic process. The decision should not be ceded to whoever is the most outraged.
Patrick O’Hannigan: My friend Felix and I were discussing this question over coffee, and in an effort to steer a middle course between “tear them all down” and “leave them alone,” he said that he thought statues of Confederate soldiers ought to be relocated away from where many of them are now, and into museums or other such places (like old battlefields) where they would be in “historical context.” That approach at least attempts something like conciliation, but I don’t think it will work, because the end game for progressives isn’t “Confederate statue removal,” it’s safe (sanitized, infantile) space everywhere.
Yale University was named for a slave trader, as Instapundit gleefully noted, but by erasing reminders of our history we’ll invoke the law of unintended consequences, either by re-fighting old conflicts or by losing any frame of reference for even righteous valor (Remember Ken Burns’ Civil War documentary series for PBS of more than a decade ago? If you were inspired by what soldiers like Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain did while wearing Union blue, it’s because their courage was tested by men wearing Confederate gray and butternut. Take “Johnny Reb” out of the picture, and “Billy Yank” will fade away, too). Not only that, but iconoclasm tends to be poorly informed. Exhibit A in evidence for that assertion would be the people who defaced a statues of Joan of Arc (!) in New Orleans and Fray Junipero Serra (!) in California.
Laura Rambeau Lee: Whenever the old wounds and scars of our past begin to heal and race relations improve the left charges in to pick at the scabs and make sure they continue to fester. We must never forget our history as we came very close to losing our republic in the Civil War. Only by the grace of G-d were we able to abolish slavery and rebuild our divided county. But it seems every generation or so this evil begins to stir again creating unrest, division, and chaos.
Many of the Confederate monuments and memorials we see today were erected in the early 1900s and were associated with campaigns promoting the Jim Crow laws in the South. This occurred at the height of the second inception of the Ku Klux Klan which ran from 1915 to 1944 and had between three and six million members over that period of time. We can only surmise their purpose was also meant to intimidate blacks.
People in the Southern states, today unaware of the purpose or what was behind their original erection, view these memorials as honoring those who fought, served, and died in defense of their cause and should not be removed. They believe this is our history and no matter how shameful a time this was in our country we can still honor those brave souls who were their ancestors. As conservative Americans we should view them for what they are… historical symbols erected by Democrats to continue to divide the races in our country.
Once the idea of tearing down Confederate monuments arose people on the left across the country jumped on the bandwagon. They do like to follow their “masters.” Here in our county they have been attempting to remove a Confederate statue, originally introduced by a Democrat county commissioner. Just this past week the commission voted 4 to 2 to remove it but required private funds of $140,000.00 be raised within thirty days, which is about half of the cost to remove it. A Go Fund Me page was started and by this weekend it states the money has been raised. Tampa’s Democrat mayor Bob Buckhorn wrote a personal check for one thousand dollars stating he has a moral obligation to do his part. Our local sports teams have also contributed to the removal of the statue. This is not about morality, it is about appeasement.
If a majority of the people want these statues removed and schools and streets renamed it should be put to a vote. As it stands, the very vocal minority is intimidating our officials into removing these Confederate monuments, some in the dead of night.
What I do not understand is why Republicans have not set the record straight. This could be a very important and enlightening teachable moment for everyone who does not know our country’s history and the racist history of the Democrat Party. Instead our Republican representatives are allowing conservatives and Trump supporters to be labeled bigots, racists, and white supremacists.
How far will we let this go?
Well, there it is!
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