Tear ’em down. Tear ’em all down. Just Remember that when Mobs Rule Anarchy Wins.


August 17, 2017 by gregrabidoux2013


confederate statues durham

Mob mentality coming to a city near you.


As a transplanted Yankee I confess I have mixed feelings about all the Confederate Statues dotting the South,

On the one hand, as I have blogged before, I think that far too many Southerners re-enact and re-live the Civil War far too often. It’s as if each time they re-enact their emotions get stirred up again and again as if the war just ended like, say, yesterday. The outcome stays the same but the anger never seems to fully subside. Or old wounds heal.


confederate statues reenactments

This time it’ll be different.


On the other hand, I always get real concerned when mob mentality and not democracy seems to rule the day.

If communities engage in civil discourse and debate and then decide, peacefully, that this general or that general or this politician or that politician statue must go, well, seems like their prerogative.

But I do resent when angry mobs take that decision out of the hands of the many and into the wrath and anarchy of the few.

There is also something troubling and deeply disturbing though when angry groups, whether on the Left (like Antifas, Never Trumpers or BLM) or on the Right (like Neo-Nazis, KKK or WS) are seemingly bent on eradicating history. We have watched in other countries during times of violent upheavals, coups and even full-fledged revolution that first, all symbols of the hated regime or painful past are destroyed. Then, it’s on to rewriting the history books that are not burned, destroying archives, libraries and museums found to be offensive or “dangerous” and then completing the unholy trinity follows indoctrinating youth to the “new truth” and the “new way.”


confederate statues KKK statue.jpg.jxr

What if no one showed up to listen or pay attention to these clowns? Tough to start a fire without a spark.


A couple of years ago I wrote an article about the South and its legacy regarding the Civil War and Confederate past. It is more complex than what the media is framing it as-It’s not just about slavery. For a number of Southerners the statues of Generals like Lee or Jefferson Davis represent what they view as courage and leadership in the face of Yankee or Northern aggression. For others, of course it is a symbol of suppression and slavery. Still, for some, these statues represent the founders and civic leaders of places they have always called home like Savannah, Atlanta, or Tuscaloosa.


confederate statues gen lee

Up until a few days ago no one even seemed to pay attention to me or my statues. But I’ve been here all the time.


So, sure, tear down the statues, tear down the monuments. Tear down, burn and destroy every historical artifact that you find offensive or troubling. Just let’s use our peaceful and democratic processes in place to do so if that’s what we collectively decide.

But a word or two of caution.

Mob rules actually have none. And anarchists are never satisfied.


confederate statues book burning

Who or what is next?


George Washington, while he eventually disavowed owning slaves certainly did at one time own slaves. Ditto for Thomas Jefferson. Former Democratic Senator Robert Byrd, one of Hillary Clinton’s stated mentors was a former member of the KKK. His statue sits perched in the Hall of Heroes in our US Capitol. Dr. Martin Luther King opposed same-sex marriage.

Judging all of these folks by contemporaneous standards, and excluding all of the other achievements each made during their lifetimes then seems to dictate that their statues and monuments all be destroyed, does it not?

Banished. Vanquished. Made so none of what they ever did or thought has to ever again offend any of us or take up even one inch of our public space.

So sure tear’ em down. Tear ’em all down.

Just let’s remember that the history you never learn, forget or destroy is in fact the very history you then are inevitably ensuring you will relive.

And I for one don’t want to see that day arrive anytime soon.

In the wake of the Charlottesville riots it would seem we, the people, have a choice to make.


hatred american style flags

No room for both?


Will we debate our past as a civil society and make decisions through our chosen peaceful and democratic processes?

Or do we all succumb to the forceful and violent will of mobs whether on the far right or far left covered in masks and armed with weapons and fueled with rage?

Because the more we allow stuff like this to happen in the way it is now happening those “far leftists” and “far rightists” inevitable keep on marching toward the rest of us until there is no right, left or middle.

Just armed mobs dictating how you and I will live, think and act.


confederate statues candles statue.jpg.jxr

No weapons or outward rage, no bats, clubs or knives, no beatings. But man, is this protest inherently powerful.


My prayers go out to the family of the young woman who was senselessly killed in Charlottesville.

May peace and civility rule our days not violence and mob mentality.






43 thoughts on “Tear ’em down. Tear ’em all down. Just Remember that when Mobs Rule Anarchy Wins.

  1. Shannon H says:

    As a 10th generation southerner, I think there is a difference between remembering the past, keeping alive important history, honoring the fallen on every side, vs. believing the Confederacy should have won. I think most Sourherners have been making that important distinction for a long long time.

    Robert E Lee was President Lincoln’s first choice to lead the Federal Army. From the time if the Revolution to the mid 1800s people considered themselves first and formost a citizen of their state and then their country. Like most soldiers, General Lee could not in good conscience fight against his own state, but neither did he want civil war.

    After the horrific war, these statues, moments, and remembrances were a way to bring both sides together, including those who were innocently caught up in many of the scorched earth policies of the war. They were acts that helped to heal and unify the nation. In large part, they worked. And in large part these monuments are a testament to a nation brought to the brink of destruction and yet healed into a more perfect union.

    • Adora B says:

      I’m a daughter of the Confederacy. I’m a daughter of the American Revolution. I’m even a Nashville native. I honor Robert E. Lee who wanted NO statues of himself or remembrances of a civil war.
      I think civil war statues are appropriate in museums. They are not appropriate as state symbols. Unless some state isn’t part of the Union. And far as I know, they are.
      I would like to see unifying statues throughout the U.S. what might it mean if we all lived by statues of Abraham Lincoln, FDR, JFK, Truman, Eisenhower, Indian Chiefs, Nobel and Pulitzer prize winners, authors who changed our world, Martin Luther King … I could go on but you see what I mean. There are people who unify us and there are people who divide us. Even when they abhor the division, over 100 years later, like Robert E. Lee.

      • Shannon H says:

        Well, actually by the same standard Robert E Lee’s statue should be removed, so does any reference to FDR. He put the entire Japanese American population into internment camps. The statues of MLK would need to go. He was a Baptist preacher and opposed gay marriage. Oh, that darn White House and the US Capital needs to be demolished, it was built in part by slave labor. Since the Native Americans traded slaves, even before the arrival of western colonists, any reference or monuments to them needs to go. Truman paid the $10 joining fee to the KKK and dropped nuclear bombs on Japan, is that sufficient to exclude him from historical recognition? Lincoln was against the institution of slavery, but publicly stated his opposition to social or political equality between blacks and whites. How does that balance out? And of course, technically speaking, Hitler was an ‘author who changed our world’. Statue to him or no?

  2. D M B says:

    Being from New York, what happens in the south is all most as if something is happening in another country to me. I don’t know if it’s the media, human nature, or some other conspiracy that had lead to the overall thought of a dichotomous politic in American. Is being of the independent party even on the ballot anymore? I am a black woman, and that statute doesn’t “trigger” me. I understand that people are entitled to their own opinions and as the stated in the article, an angry mob isn’t going to change those opinions. Also, as a black woman, I am quite aware of racial tension and oppression, yet I don’t find myself willing to join a Black Lives Matter group. Does that make me less black? There are so many perspectives and dialogue on racial relations that I could blog endlessly. Despite how cynical this may be, I all ways wind up to the phrase, “It is what it is.” Some feel as though that this world should be full of good people and good deeds. There will all ways be hate, competitions, haves, and have-nots. Do I appreciate the people who are the conquest to undo all evil? Absolutely, where would this world be with out those people? Yet, I understand that is an impossible task.

    Back to the statue and angry mobs.

    People need to find other things to be passionate about. I’m not saying to ignore the past, but what does the removal of the statue do? Will that undo slavery? Will take down that statue and my doom of being racially profiled? Lastly, future thinking is what is needed. Angry mobs? I don’t see those going away. Humans are barbaric, we need to survive. I am amazed at the power that angry mobs have. It’s a very primitive mechanism, but yet continues to distort reality and install fear, to the point that we do abandon democracy.

  3. Alicia H says:

    I knew it would only be a matter of time before idiots like Al Sharpton went after Washington and Jefferson which he has and Antifas defaced the Lincoln statue in Chicago. What lunacy! The Dems can keep focusing in refighting the civil war while Trump creates jobs.

  4. Ashley C says:

    I too have mixed feelings about the statues. I feel as if they are a part of history and shouldn’t be destroyed. As someone who appreciates history and people’s abilities to craft amazing things, I don’t feel we should destroy anything from the past. However, given the intent, meaning, and overall expression of the specific statues. I do believe they should be removed. No symbol of hatred or intentional oppression should remain on display in public places. A museum would be much more suitable. This is especially true with the ideas of “if we don’t study our history, we are doomed to repeat it.”
    I recently read an article about how in the Caribbean islands there are no statues for those who supported slavery or fought in the wars. No, the statues in these places represent freedom from slavery.

    As a nation, as the people, I feel we have no choice but to choose democracy. We must peacefully protest. Silence is often times much louder. A fantastic example being the NAACP Silent Protest Parade of 1917.

    I also agree with D M B. People need to find other things to be passionate about. Imagine if all the energy, news coverage, research, comradery, ect were put to more important things like finding a cure for HIV/AIDS or cancer. We might actually accomplish something.

  5. Levi says:

    I was intrigued by the opening of your article, because that’s a very good observation. Civil War re-enactments are somewhat prevalent. I know of one that takes place every year. While most of the festival is a place for people to go to booths set up by food vendors and many artisans sell their goods, the center or finale of the event is a battle re-enactment. To an extent I can see why some Southerners may want to celebrate notable southern figures, but I think there are many more Southern icons whom are worthier of such pomp.
    I think that the most key point you made was asking where does it end. Is it a slippery slope to say that removing Confederate statues will lead to more statues being removed, such as the president suggested? Most every notable figure in history, not just American, has something in their past that some may find offensive. But on the flip side, how much are we willing to overlook and who deserves to be honored? I don’t have these answers, nor do I believe a singular source can be allowed to answer them. It is up to the citizens to have an open and reasonable discourse to decide what ought to be done with these objects.
    I’m rather neutral, I never gave much attention to the statues’ existence. I would walk by them unaware of what or who they represented. It would not surprise me if the majority of others were unaware as well. If anything, the recent media attention has illuminated statues that are dilapidating in the darkened corners of America’s parks and public squares.

  6. Gwen M. says:

    I must admit, I don’t normally find myself drawn to topics of politics. However, the recent “reality show” we call media has somehow managed to make the topic of your article (as well as other topics of conflict and opposition) the top story of the day…every day. I can only compare it to that one song that you really don’t care for the first time you hear it on the radio, but find yourself singing the hook because they play it twenty times a day. I make the comparison because I wonder how many people calling for statues to be removed really know the history of the statue. Do they know the historical relevance? Do they know why they — not the guy leading the march or the guy marching on the left and right — are emphatic that the statues must be removed? And, if the statues must go because of what they represent, where was this passion for the action a year ago, two years ago? I ask these questions not as supporter of a particular side, but because I wonder where the line will be drawn. I agree with the writer who said there must be a better way to channel our energy. Perhaps more listening and less talking would serve us all well.

  7. Elizabeth B says:

    I agree with the content of this blog. I was born and raised in South Georgia and all my life I have been surrounded by such contradictions in southern society, the preservation of Southern history or removal of monuments to those that have been oppressed. Certainly this dichotomy in thought is born out of the differing experiences some individuals have had in America, specifically the South. Hearing many individuals on the anti-monument stance plead the case for removal is compelling. Some individuals have made this connection: imagine being a Jewish born child walking through the streets of Germany only to see various statues of Nazi Gestapo or Hitler. The same can be said for minority children growing up and living under the shadows of once oppressive leaders erected as proud statues and monuments in southern states. Generational trauma can be real and in some instances, these statues are not reveled in a historical manner. As we see the neo-nazi’s mention loudly in Charlottesville with their hate speech filled chants, that these statues have a deeper intrinsic meaning, symbolizing for them the oppression that once was and in their hateful opinions, should still be. To further the connections many have drawn over this debacle, these monuments drew out Neo-Nazi groups to defend them–with their Nazi flags and Nazi salutes. Imagine the Jewish and minority children seeing these displays on American soil knowing just what they mean historically…over a statue.
    My opinion on the matter is, because mob mentality is tearing these monuments down causing chaos in cities all over the south, some state or city should volunteer to establish some sort of museum to take these statues or monuments or artifacts to, such as a Southern Regional Historical Museum. Possibly? This would take these statues out of idolizing view of some of these so called patriots, and place them in a place of significance that can be observed if wished. This way all sides of the argument can be met, and would not lead to the destruction of history that once was and needs to be learned from.

  8. CDN Aaron B says:

    I am not American, but like many northern neighbours I am unable to escape the current news cycle and the debate that it creates.

    In Canada our internal war the French vs. British has ended with some similar outcomes. In Quebec there is a saying on their license plate ‘Je Me Souviens’ which translates to I remember.

    This sentiment translates to similar outcomes that I observe in the US.: radical separatist groups, rare acts of violence that can end in tragedy, revival of old rhetoric, all in the name of preservation of culture. The reality is that the group that is on the losing side of civil conflict and remain in the region have a difficult identity crisis to overcome.

    The ‘losers’ have lost more than the war. They have lost loved ones and their own heroes to war. They are descendants of those people and to ask them to forget, or denounce that history is complex.

    In Quebec they have marches and holidays and statues. There have been times when there have been referendums to leave the country of Canada that fail by the slimmest of margins.

    How can Southern US find their own path to celebrate their history and acknowledge their families’ sacrifices without it escalating into racist rhetoric? I don’t have the answer. But I don’t necessarily feel that the answer is to exacerbate division. There needs to be a balance where racism is denounced. That was the wrong side. It isn’t debatable. However, it can’t be ignored either.

    The debate should be looking to find that place where people can celebrate the positives about their heritage and it enable the conversation about denouncing the negative. Finding ways to celebrate should also enable the opportunity to highlight where the modern day has made inroads and progress at eradicating these historical conditions.

    Sadly, the current climate is really only reenacting the horrible and whipping up the mob mentality that caricatures all sides of the debate.

  9. Kacie F says:

    I live in a small town in SW Georgia called Bainbridge. Recently, there have been groups in my community that have insisted that the statue in our town square be removed due to its Confederate heritage. To be honest, until the recent riots, very few people have even noticed the details of the statue. In this square, prom pictures have been taken, weddings have been celebrated, and festivals for people of all races have been held and enjoyed. What is troubling to me is that an isolated group of community members are now rallying in private to tear down a piece of history without a plan to where it will go or what is to replace it. The democratic roots of our society are not being channeled. Rather, there are riots and mobs of people spreading outlandish propaganda and promoting a violent protest. It is extremely difficult to see unfold. I think that you nailed it when you mentioned the mob mentality. I do not mention this situation in order to argue about the statue staying or going. Personally, I do not feel as though removing it will change any mindsets that many in my community have with regard to bigotry or hate. However, if these situations are to continue in an undemocratic manner, then we will surely be left with a Bradbury-like notion of our heritage.

    • Lauren H says:

      Hi Kacie,

      I am also from Bainbridge and as soon as the first monument went down I told my family it would not be long before people began protesting in Bainbridge…and look what we have. I am relieved it has not gone to the next level – but fear that it might.

      As a “yankee transplant” as Dr. Rabidoux also called himself…I kind of have a different view. While I agree with you that before all of the media attention – no one really took issue with the statues in our town square, I still feel that if a statue, signage, etc makes someone feel uncomfortable or oppressed…is it really worth having up? My suggestion to someone was, “Why not put the statue in the museum that is now on the square so that if you want to experience the history you can do that without the expense of ill feelings of others?”

      I don’t know what will come of all this in our small town – but I also agree that all of this won’t remove the culture of bigotry and/or hate that we have. We have to find a way to educate folks so that they can put our history into proper perspective.

      • Kacie F says:


        I agree with you that if it makes citizens uncomfortable, then it should be addressed. From what I have read both publicly and privately regarding this situation, it seems that there have not been many steps taken by the petitioners to move it but rather just tear it down. Are you talking about the museum on the square to house the statue? If I remember correctly, this is a nonprofit that is the Decatur County Historical and Genealogical Society? I am wondering if this group would be open to allowing the statue to be moved from the outside in front of the building to the inside (given they have the room). Would they not just be setting themselves up for vandalism and more discrimination? Either way, I hope that the situation is handled through the proper channels and that it doesn’t end in violence.

  10. Melissa T says:

    This latest episode of outrage over monuments brings so many thoughts and emotions up. One is that removing monuments will not change history. It is also vandalism to destroy government property. They say that the one thing you can control is your reaction to an action. Violence and vandalism is not taking the high road and is actually stepping backwards in the progress that these leaders worked so hard to overcome.

    Another aspect of this is fed by the anarchist who pay for people to stir up trouble and riot as well as the media coverage that focuses on this. I know for a fact that there have been instances that have occurred prior to the recent media coverage of the monuments that did not spur racial animosity and riots. When the media is focusing on this uprising, it causes even the smallest of towns to face the riots. Last week in Thomas County, there was a riot that called for extensive police protection. These officers are disrespected and local property gets destroyed without any consequences to the vandals. This has to stop. People who commit these crimes, should be punished and arrested. Our right is to protest peacefully. Vandalizing and destroying property is not peaceful protests.

    Consequences should be paid and the media needs to cover less of the negatively fueled actions and riots.

  11. Jessica V says:

    This post is a great extension to a discussion my husband and I were having on the road last week about this situation. I think the responses thus far have illustrated beautifully how there are many different opinions and attitudes about this matter. I agree with Dr. R. that we should be resorting to democratic processes rather than mob mentality to guide action. However, how would we implement that now? Should we start a national committee that explores the history of statues that then offers expert commentary to address all sides of any potential statue or person? Should we leave an issue that has such national implications to state and/or local governments? If so, especially at the city/local level, I’m a bit concerned about how this would play out. Imagine a typical city council of volunteer representatives who likely have little or no training in mediation trying to handle an angry crowd of protestors at a meeting. In states with initiative and referendum, perhaps it could be put to a vote? At this point, for this matter, I’m worried that we’ve potentially passed the point from which democratic processes would be productive.

  12. James B says:

    Dr. Rabidoux,

    I think all history is important whether or not we agree with the politics or ethics of a given period. It is the height of arrogance to superimpose modern values onto events in antiquity. I do not see Italians snatching down Roman monuments and statues despite the violence, slavery, and hedonism so common to the empire. I grew up in the south and rarely hear people discussing the Civil War outside of academia, politics, or the media. I will grant you there are a few “South Will Rise Again” Bubbas out there; however, they are by and large a minority. There are also some people that lament the restriction of state rights following the war and reconstruction.
    The truth is that most people, white, black, brown, spotted, or purple do not care about history. I rarely ever see anyone even come within 12 ft of a statue or monument at a municipal complex unless they have to walk around it. In all honesty, nobody can claim to be offended or inconvenienced by something that most John Q public do not notice until the media slaps them with it.
    I agree with you that tearing down historical reminders is dangerously close to the October Revolutions or the Nazi book burnings. History is a nonrenewable cultural resource. It is simply gone once you burn it, smash it, reteach it, or hide it away in a storage room. How many cultures, religions, and codes of law are lost to the ages because the victors decided their merit. I dare say a group is no longer a dispossessed minority when they can strip away the history of another group.
    I will admit to a certain bias given the fact I possess a B.A. in History. Most historiographers avoid bias in their accounting of events in an almost clinical manner. It is a shame that political actors lack the clinical observational skills with which to observe landmarks, memorials, and statues. I wonder if the people that spit on Vietnam veterans and called them baby killers disapproved of the Vietnam Wall. Perhaps we should all remember everyone is offended or wounded by something. The fact I cannot avoid attorney ads on TV, radio, or print media should attest to such a climate.

    • James, very well put…if more people thought of history, any history as a non-renewable cultural resource perhaps they would choose to learn from it and not feel compelled to destroy it. It does seem true today as in the past, the current news you don’t know is the history you haven’t yet learned.

  13. JAZMIN C says:

    Dr. Rabidoux,

    This is a difficult topic and one that is very sensitive. I have tried very hard to understand the argument of those in support of keeping confederate flags, statues and monuments. While I think history is extremely important, I believe they (flag and statues) should be housed in some museum, somewhere. They could possibly be taken to Stone Mountain and left as a never-ending exhibit.
    As a black American, I could debate about the conferate flag being racist and how hurtful it is to see one flying behind the back of a pickup truck and the fact that a known hate group uses it to inflict pain, but I won’t. What does upset me is seeing that flag fly next to an American flag or looking out the window of a government office and seeing Robert E. Lee’s statue on the front lawn.
    The conferderate flag is a representation of treason. Confederate soldiers killed more than two-hundred thousand Americans. The only other enemy to kill more Americans, were Axis powers. Can you be a patriotic American and fly the confederate flag? Though the battle flag that we seeing flying high throughout the south never officially represented the Confederate State of America, it was used in combat.
    I do believe that for some, the confederate flag symbolizes heritage. I had several friends at ABAC who held that belief. If holding on to something that reminds one of a lost cause, go ahead and keep your participation ribbon.

  14. Christopher Cooke says:

    This is a very similar issue to the flag issue several years ago and in some states, 10-15 years ago. Did the changing of the flag actually change anything? No. There are simply more issues that we need to deal with. I have been watching the news and saw two major hurricanes strike our country. First responders and citizens worked together to rescue people and have proven once again what our country is all about. Nobody that is alive today was born during the Civil War. We don’t need another one today. We have North Korea, Iran, the Taliban, food shortages, and wars all over the continent. We need to work on common problems and develop common goals. You can laugh if you want, but here is a quote from my children’s favorite set of books. “We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided.” -J.K. Rowling. Come on people, let’s get real.

    • C. Hicks says:

      I believe that history is history, and destroying statues is not going to change it. However, at the end of the day, there are so many more issues that deserve our attention. The news has been relentless on showing all of us just how divided this country is and how more divided it is headed to becoming. Hurricanes such as Harvey and Irma, and the devastation left behind for so many people has been truly unbelievable. Mexico has been getting hit with major earthquakes regularly, as more an more lives are lost. The topic of the removal of statues, pails in comparison to the real problems humankind is facing at this turbulent time in history.

  15. Lucas E says:

    Dr. Rabidoux,

    I echo your sentiment that the democratic process prevails. I also hope that we can remain civil in our discourse. In a perfect world we would not have angry mods on the left, right, or otherwise. We should, in fact, resolve our issues with peaceful protest, awareness, and debate.

    Regarding civil war era statutes, we have plenty. I have very mixed emotions on the issue. My family has been a fixture in the South for a number of generations. In fact, I am a son of the confederacy. I don’t have a membership, but I have relatives that fought for the South in the Civil War on both sides of my family. On my fathers side a relative died in a POW camp in the north. On my mothers side I have a relative that was a guard at Andersonville that saw many young men parish in desperate conditions.

    I don’t condone the Civil War. Both sides of my family were poor in those times neither family to my knowledge had ownership of slaves. But yet they faught for the Southern cause. I don’t know their motives. Their motives aren’t listed in the family Bible. But I’m sure like many who faught, they faught because their state was at war.

    General Lee after the war didn’t want monuments erected and wanted to put the banner of the South away. I have no problem with removing controversial memorials. However, I do think monuments for the dead should remain intact. Most cities in Georgia will have a monument commemorating the dead of the area. Those should stand. Not because those men faught and died for a lost cause, but because those men died. At the time they were not listed as veterans. Legislation concerning those men wasn’t passed until the last man died.

    Confederate statues erected during the civil rights movement should be removed. And the stars and bars should only fly over confederate graves and museums.

    We should take care to remember our history as not to repeat it. But we should also hold democratic hearings to identify the fate of some of those monuments that are questionable. The civil war brought a country together. I hope this debate will have the same effect. We have to stop hating one another. Hate has out to many folks in the ground.

  16. Clint Backstrom says:

    Great post here. Once you allow for the mob to rule you lose control. Somewhere along the way we decided to tell everyone that their opinion meant more than it did and they had the right to bend others to the same view. Too many today could never think that debating without violence could ever occur. Its almost as if we stopped reiterating to our nation that we live in democracy and that we operate on platforms where both sides of argument are brought forth and then a decision is made. Many people around the world must do as they are told or die at the hands of the regime. We have the fairest political and government systems in the world and all we want to do is burn it down. I often wonder when the silent majority of the nation will begin to flex it’s power back towards normalcy, or are we left to speed to anarchy?

  17. Gary G. says:

    From the movie “The American President”, the character, President Shepherd famously says, “You want free speech? Let’s see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who’s standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours.” Not once was violence advocated nor mob rule suggested. These statues and symbols of our past give me mixed feelings. Personally, they have no power over me nor do the vile words people sometimes refer to me. If the statue is torn down, what will have changed? If the statute is left up, what will have changed? But when groups congregate and decide to use mob mentality to shout down that which they oppose, that becomes the real threat to freedom.

    It would seem as though that since the Charlottesville incident, there is a contest to see who can out mob the other. The desire to tear ’em all down is being pushed back with the keep ’em all up. What’s lost in the middle is the majority of people who want to see civil discourse reach a rational and peaceful solution. Part of this problem, in my opinion, is people put too much weight in the symbol of things. The left wants the statues torn down and destroyed, while the right wants them preserved. Where is the middle who says, “Okay, they should come down, but let’s preserve them for those who wish in a museum where they can be properly honored by those who want and completely ignored by those who don’t?”

    But like you, I also have trouble with trying to rewrite history through the destruction of historical symbols because it makes us “feel” better. A statue of General Lee should not be feared or made to make one angered. It should be a constant reminder of where we came from, why we come from where we do, and why we are where we are. The key to civil discourse is the willingness to listen and compromise to reach a rational conclusion. However, in the present social climate, it has become mob rule and violence with the rational and reasonable people left on the sidelines to witness as the two groups tear each other to pieces and in the end, nothing will have changed. Worse, with the mob mentality, people are becoming more and more entrenched in their ideologies. Perhaps when there is nothing left to destroy or bicker about, ten we can start looking for common ground.

    • Delane S says:

      Yes! The mob mentality is the true threat! Are there issues with the statues? Maybe. Could we build a museum for them or add them to existing ones? Probably. But what does that really change? History? No. The best way to “change” history is to ensure we don’t repeat it. Using a democratic, civilized method in achieving results is how we “change” history. We don’t let past errors continue to harm us. Now whether that involves removing the statues or not, I don’t know. Nor do I feel like I have any say in the matter. For as many generations as I know of, I am from the West. Seeing Confederate symbols to me is somewhat like going back in time. But I am referring mostly to the flag. A statue is not an uncommon method to show respect and reverence to someone who came before us.

      What really bothers me about what this controversy has truly turned into, a debate about free speech, is that it seems that free speech is only free if it absolutely aligns with how you feel! It certainly must not offend anyone.. God forbid!

  18. James H says:

    I think this caution against mob rule mentality is very important but the problem is that those that need to be reminded of this, will never consider it. They see themselves as being right because of their views and do not consider the thoughts or ideas of others to see both sides. I personally was born and raised in the south and see the many pieces of Civil War history as a reminder of what so many sacrificed. I have been to reenactments and seen my brother-in-law in these events on both sides. The people that I have spoken with at these events are very knowledgeable of the overall historical significance from both sides. Most do it as a way to share history and the battles with newer generations as they try to live, at least part of their weekends, like the soldiers of that time. I think these are held more to educate for many than to relive and gives the people in attendance a chance to see how people lived.
    I look at the statues and monuments as reminders of the past but ways to learn about those that shaped our great nation though I have always been the type of person to try to look at the views of everyone and not be so set in my point of view only. I often think there are people that are just looking to create some type of havoc or to get fame in way and find their cause and impose it on others to create the mob mentality that ultimately leads to conflict. I always wonder why we as a society cannot just respect each other’s point of view and realize that we each have different opinions and that is ok.

  19. Rebecca R says:

    Born and raised in the South, specifically the state of Georgia, my family’s history is entwined with the horrors of the Civil War. And while I don’t especially understand the allure of Civil War re-enactments, I have relatives who are deeply entrenched in these events. I have a cousin who pretty much knows the details of every battle. But he isn’t involved in these re-enactments because of racism or slavery, but because he is connecting to our southern roots. There is little in southern history to connect to other than the Civil War. For the southern man, the Civil War holds patriotic symbolism when men and boys left home to fight for what they deemed to be the survival of the south.
    The confederate flag and statues of long ago heroes of the south seem to me to be in the same vein. But you make a valid point, where does the mob rule end if allowed to continue? The events of late seem to be a slippery slope to anything that might offend someone else. History is not the actions of the living, but rather the actions of the past. Many of these actions will be offensive to someone in some way at some time. But who gets to decide whether some statues stay or go, or if or who from the past is honored? I agree with you, tear them all down or put them all in museums where they may be viewed if desired. But if done for one, it should be done for all in a democratic way. Not through the unlawful actions of mobs. I don’t pretend to have the answer to the mob rule question, but I also do not believe a singular source should be allowed to decide for the population. The citizens should have an open and reasonable discourse to decide what ought to be done.
    I prefer to remain neutral, in that I have never really given much attention to the statues’ anyway. But I believe that history is what it is and no amount of destroying statues or changing flags, or burning of books for that matter, is going to change it. But if there are no symbols of the past to remind us of our mistakes as a united people, then we are truly destined to repeat our horrible mistakes. Perhaps if we pay more attention to what really happened in the Civil War to claim more lives than most any other war, that pitted brother against brother, father against son, and American against American, we can learn from the mistakes of our forefathers. There is so much more today that deserves the attention that is being given to these statues of the past. Things that will greatly affect our future. Shouldn’t we be focusing on them instead?

  20. A. Brown says:

    The rioting and tearing down of statues cannot be justified in my point of view. I cannot see where violence and the destruction of historical property is beneficial to either side of the controversy. The statues erected throughout our country many years ago in reference to the historical happenings in our states. We all may not agree on all the details that took place on a particular historical event, yet I do not feel that rioters have the freedom to destruct public property. Statues are a lovely work of art, and we should appreciate the beauty of the sculpture. I feel the media plays a large part in the destruction of statues due to the coverage. Then the pandemonium spreads like wildfire to small quiet towns where the statues are backdrops for photos. Professor Greg wrote about former Democratic Senator Robert Byrd, one of Hillary Clinton’s stated mentors was a former member of the KKK with his statue perched in the Hall of Heroes in our US Capitol, and Dr. Martin Luther King opposed same-sex marriage. We cannot go throughout our country and tear down everything and anything that has controversial value.

  21. Charles C says:

    This is not an easy discussion, but it is an easy answer much like my reply to Antifa. No way should any group be able to go into a community and tear down any monuments of any kind. The only way this should occur is as mentioned in Dr. Rabidoux’s blog, through civil engagement and let the communities decide what stays and what does not. At the heart of this discussion is the destruction of public or private property, which is illegal and is punishable by the law regardless of the reason puts forward for destroying the property.

    I am not arguing this on the basis that I believe the statues should or should not be removed, rather it is a matter of law and order. Our society is based on laws and the way to change the laws are through engagement in the political system. Legislators or community municipalities create laws. If the laws need to be changed, then it is up to the voters to elect representatives that share their beliefs. Petitions may be developed and civil discussion should occur to get laws changed or get monuments removed that may be offensive. Mob rule is not the answer, law in order is the only way to proceed where all sides can make their cases and a decision based on the merits of the discussion.

    As for the monuments themselves, that separate discussion is worth having. I am always leery of removing monuments for the sake of deleting the past. I believe history should be taught as it actually happened because it is important for us to remember the good and bad of this country. To me, the monuments are a reminder of a time of poor decisions and it is important for us to remember that on a daily basis. If not, we may likely go down that road again and make the same poor decisions.

    As someone else mentioned in his or her reply to this post, these are also historical artifacts and as such needs maintained as such. That is not to say they should remain in the public square or wherever they currently rest, but needs maintaining for the sake of them being a part of the history of this country.

    Someone asked me how I would like to see a swastika every day flying and I would not, but it are a stark reminder of another part of world history that absolutely should be remembered as well. It appears the rush to remove any part of our history that is offensive is leading us down a path of forgetting where we have already been. This is dangerous because it can lead to us going down a similar path in the future.

  22. JCE says:

    I was recently in New Orleans and my hotel was on Lee Circle, except the 133-year-old statue of General Lee was gone: plucked off the top of his pillar in May of this year. But the homeless men, all African-Amercian, were still sleeping on the steps of the remaining statueless monument. So my first thought was of misplaced priorities. New Orleans, like many big cities, has a serious homeless problem, but not a statue problem! So there’s that. General Sherman’s statue occupies a prominent corner near NYC’s Central Park. He’s gold-gilded and flanked by a winged Victory. But he torched my beloved city of Atlanta, from which it took decades to recover. But I can’t be offended by his visage or I’d likely be branded a white supremacist. I’m not trying to equivocate struggles, not in the least. Plus, the Union won, thank goodness. And to the victor…

    But it doesn’t seem right to just pitch-out one half of the Civil War’s history just because we don’t like it. I used to think the Civil War was just about slavery. Then I started doing some family research: In 1862, at the not-so-tender age of 47, my third-great-grandfather joined the 33rd Alabama Infantry to fight for the Confederacy. He wasn’t a slave-owner: he was a dirt-poor tenant farmer like his father before him. If the war was just about slavery, would he have taken-up arms? Somehow I doubt it. If someone were to try to remove his gravestone because of the Civil War tie, I’d be furious: not because I believe in his cause. I only believe he was a product/victim of the time.

  23. CHall says:

    These monuments are a part of our history – the good, the bad, and the ugly. I think it would be dangerous for the state of our future to erase all traces of our past. In my opinion, we have a real cultural issue in our country today – a festering anger that is bubbling up to the surface and is precariously close to exploding. Don’t we want to remember where we came from so we don’t revert back to where we started?

    Holding a public meeting or referendum to vote on a removal, sure, that seems fair. But since when is viciously ripping down a historical statue justified simply because you feel offended. Not to make light of racial issues but I personally am offended by many things I see around town every day. That doesn’t mean I’m covered by the First Amendment to react any way I want to. I guess my point is – if we remove these historical monuments and statues, where does it end? And whose opinion prevails? As someone mentioned earlier, a hero to one person may disgust the next. Are we to remove all monuments everywhere? Seems pretty scary to me!

  24. missnrb says:

    I asked my grandmother and two great aunts what they thought about the removal of the statues. They are former teachers who are 91, 94, and 96 so they have seen and experienced some things during their time. They all expressed the same thought but with different words. Basically, removing the statues will not change the system or the beliefs of those who revere them. However, I do understand why the statue removal is so important to both sides. The removal of the statues is a visible and easily identifiable victory. It can be used as a symbol of change to further the movement. A recognizable symbol can be a powerful motivator in situations with conflicting interests and a power imbalance. It can inspire the powerless and marginalized to fight to increase their power and resources. They become catalysts for the change they want to see in the world and confront injustices by participating in the system and acting to influence resource allocation, public policy, and laws within the social institutions that directly affect their lives. This can be a sign of power for one side and one of weakness for the other particularly if they share the same values as the person memorialized by the statue.

  25. Tracy B says:

    I have mixed feelings about the statues. I think they are an important part of history and show how far we have come as a nation. I don’t think removing the statues will change the history of our nation nor will it change the hate that lives within some people in this nation. I do not see the statues as a reminder of the bad and negative things instead I view them as a way to see how great this nation is and how far we have come over the years. I personally feel that the statues should stay and could be used as educational tools to teach the up and coming generations what we used to be and what we are now. Everything doesn’t and shouldn’t be so negative. History is what we make it and I think the statues represent what we have been through as a nation; thus making us a better nation due to the historical aspects of where we have come from. We still have a long way to go but we are making progress. To me the statues should represent the progress we have made as a nation.

  26. Melany says:

    I don’t get the whole being offended by a statue thing. I really don’t. If it offends you, then don’t stand in front of it. There’s lots of things that bother me to be around. I just choose not to be around them. The people who make a big stink about the statues are the same people giving the statues power over them. If we don’t want history to repeat itself, look at the actual problems. Taking down a statue isn’t going to fix the problem. This is obviously just my opinion. I do not get offended very easily though.

  27. Jud W says:

    I am proud of my American Heritage. Over the last 500 plus years, since Christopher Columbus discovered this great land, we have had our share of indiscretions. No country just happened. The Roman Empire, considered one of the greatest societies in history was built on the conquest of Europe. Every great Civilization has skeletons in its closet and periods of their history they would love to forget. However, much like people, Countries have a choice. You can choose to erase the past and doom themselves to repeat it or learn from those dark times and let it make you stronger.

    As much as I was blessed to be born an American, I was also blessed to be born Southern. Just as I am proud of my American Heritage, I am also proud of my Southern Heritage. When I think of Southern Heritage, slavery does not even make the list. It’s about saying “Yes Sir” and “No Ma’am”, respecting your Elders, having a good work ethic and doing the “Right Thing” because it’s the right thing to do. I have heard for years that the Civil War was not fought over slavery, it was not. The Civil War was fought over States Rights. Slavery was one of many issues that the North and South disagreed on. America was a fledgling country of less than a 100 years. The expansion west, the Industrial Revolution along with the discord in Europe, all contributed to the tensions between the two sides. It was a very divisive time. Opinions varied on both sides, as to which side was right. Families were split, some having members fighting on both sides.
    I have heard that we should abolish all Southern Monuments and the Rebel Flag because they represent slavery and oppression. This may be the most stupid thing I have heard in a long time. The South did not invent slavery. Slavery goes back to Biblical times. It was prominent throughout Human History. Africa, South America and Europe all have a long history of slavery. How do you think the Pyramids of Egypt and the Great Wall of China were built? It was common throughout the world for thousands of years.

    If we are going to impose our standard of modern enlightenment to judge the past, then by all means, tear down the Southern Monuments. While you are at it, let’s tear down the White House. It was built by slaves. If we are going to banish Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis from the history books, let’s take out George Washington and Thomas Jefferson among others out, as well. They owned slaves. If we are going to condemn our historic leaders for things that were common at their point and time in history and remove all history that we do not agree, then how can we believe our history is true? Selective history is not history, it’s just political spin. Trying to eliminate the history you don’t like does not strengthen us. If we banish the mistakes of our past then how will we ever learn how to prevent them in the future?

    So now you see me as a “Southerner”….please do note that my origins are as a Mayflower decedent with family origins on paper back to the 1600s in Europe. So how far back do you really want to destroy my heritage? I am sure there are others with issue to monuments other than any southern ones over just this last 200 years in America.

    PS . . . While I have “papers” per my American Heritage for one side of my family (Mothers) . . . My great Grandmother on my Father’s side was Cherokee Indian…..So do we go after the Reservations and any historical monuments or honors that represent them within their local areas as well?

  28. Samuel G says:

    I have mixed feelings, even more so after reading the post and comments. I think the monuments and symbols are a good reminder of our history (good and bad) but I think the problem comes when certain people or groups use them to intimidate other groups. Example: A business in my hometown in South Georgia places the confederate flag within the store front. This for many minorities would signify many negative things but the owners suggest it is simply “Southern Pride”. Same as with statues and monuments. I think back to why the civil war was fought, most agree the reasoning was slavery so why are these people being “honored”? But then I think about, as mentioned in the post that Martin Luther King was not in favor of same sex marriage which if he held that position in todays times he wouldn’t be the beloved figure we know him as. I would suggest a case by case basis as far as removing/replacing statues. I think the region and context matter.

  29. Christopher Cary says:

    As the descendant of a slave who bought his freedom, came back, and bought the freedom of his family I would like to say that all my life these “rebel” flags and images are uncomfortable. I think that discussion and understanding of both sides is the proper way to address the deep racial undertones that exist within our society today. There was a reference to slavery in Biblical times by Jud W that represents the reason many people do not wish to see these monuments. They create this idea that evil is an acceptable behavior because it was passed on from before.

    “The South did not invent slavery. Slavery goes back to Biblical times. It was prominent throughout Human History. Africa, South America and Europe all have a long history of slavery. How do you think the Pyramids of Egypt and the Great Wall of China were built? It was common throughout the world for thousands of years.”

    Slavery is more than just taking people and forcing them to work. You erase those peoples traditions, history, and families. What about the history and traditions of all those people who were enslave so that “southerners” could ride around on their horses and have sugar in there tea and coffee. I think we would all agree that genocide is wrong no matter if it is in Rwanda or Germany. The same goes for slavery. Its wrong.

    Democracy is needed and not mob mentality. Legislation should take down the monuments after extensive discussion. These monuments belong in books and museums. I’m not saying all of them need to go there but as many of them that we can get of the capital grounds the better.

  30. elizabeth d says:

    Symbols and remnants of the era of slavery have no place in modern, diverse, tolerant, accepting society. If anyone wants to pay for it, they may house these statutes and symbols, which are instruments of intimidation and symbols of injustice, in a private museum for the benefit of those who prefer to live in a bygone era.

  31. jkhamman says:

    I know being a white man makes my comments on this subject futility. Sorry but hear I go. We our are acting like all these people didn’t do anything great because they made a mistake. Political correctness has gone to far in our country. A statue doesn’t mean the person didn’t do anything wrong in their lifetime but it does mean they did something special. We have allowed political correctness to destroy a piece of our past. To know the past makes one not make the same mistakes. Do people get upset about Micheal Jordan having a statue ? No but he has many faults as man. His statue represents his play on the court not his faults. We need to have thicker skin and stop giving out participant trophy to make sure our kids feel special. Taking a statue down will not affect if you get a job or wake up tom. Focus on making yourself better by looking in the mirror and realizing your faults this will make more of a change in the world. Anyone can point out faults in others but its hard to do to oneself.

  32. TLGBFT says:

    There should never be a way to celebrate the Confederacy simply because of its racist, pro-slavery position. There should only be a remembrance of the Confederacy. No one celebrates the Holocaust as the glory days of the Third Reich. As a student of history, there has to be a compromise. Monuments that glorify those who championed to keep slaves in servitude are a punch in the gut to the ancestors of those enslaved people. Slavery has a long twisted place in American history. The evils of the Confederacy must always be noted when addressing the topic. There should not be a sugar-coating of history. Tell the whole story how it is but leave the aggrandizing to the private sector. The public deserves the full comprehensive story with the good, the bad, and the ugly.

  33. Molly Giddens says:

    In the blog “Tear’em down. Tear’em all down. Just Remember that when Mobs Rule Anarchy Wins,” it focuses on the conduct of two opposing platforms. Removal of Confederate statues and other artifacts has raised much attention from those who not only support these actions, but also from those that share different views. I can see how some may find these relics a constant reminder of the dehumanization of a whole race. I also realize there are those who view them with other regards. Is it possible for these groups to find middle ground?

  34. Heather Pence says:

    I have always believed in the right to protest and to voice our opinions as Americans. However, the key is to peacefully protest. As I stated in a different comment, I do not understand how violence gets one’s point across. We can say the same thing without violence.

  35. Mike H. says:

    I am a lifelong southerner and come from a family that has been in the South for nearly 400 years, yet I can’t say that I share the same sentimentality for these public monuments. I have a background in the academic pursuit (differentiated from the self-styled “civil war buffs”) of history and it is clear to me that these statues and flags have been used as symbols of white supremacy both during the era of Jim Crow and segregation as well as the present day. Perhaps a compromise might include some information available at the monuments that spells out the unvarnished and complicated truth of these confederate figureheads who may have had the defense of their homeland in mind, but also made a conscious choice to fight for a nation whose Vice President stated “Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite ideas; its foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and normal condition.” (Stephens, 1861) Or that the reintroduction of confederate symbolism in the state flags of many southern states was done as a reaction to court decisions ending school segregation (Azzarian and Fesshazion, 2000). If we are willing to display these complex histories along with monuments I consider outdated and offensive as a Southerner, then perhaps they can stay. Otherwise, I am inclined to use a quote from a famous fictional archaeologist and say “They belong in a museum!”

    Azzarian, A.J. and Fesshazion, E. (2000). The State Flag of Georgia: The 1956 Change In Its Historical Context. Retrieved from http://www.senate.ga.gov/sro/Documents/StudyCommRpts/00StateFlag.pdf

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