August 17, 2017 by gregrabidoux2013
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.