The Mistake of Rewriting History
The national debate over the removal of statues and monuments began with those that memorialized the Confederacy and are spreading across the country to the point where in New York City the future of a monument honoring Christopher Columbus is in doubt. In my opinion it’s gone too far.
While there has been conversation about this subject in recent years it has clearly ramped up since the events in Charlottesville, Virginia earlier this month when white nationalists marched to protest the removal of a statue of General Robert E. Lee, a protest that would lead to violence and even the death of a young woman.
History is defined as a chronological record of significant events often including an explanation of their causes. Much of our history is not something we are proud of but we don’t erase it. The idea is often to learn from mistakes of the past so they are not repeated.
Let me be clear on something. I totally understand and sympathize with those that believe all traces of the Confederacy are racist symbols and reminders of slavery, especially the flying of the confederate flag which offends many. However for decades many of the statues and memorials stood not necessarily as a tribute but to honor heritage and mark a historic era in this country, that being the Civil War.
Some are clearly more offensive than others but is removing all of them without conversation somewhat of an effort to re-write history?
More head-scratching is the sudden need to lump signs of the Confederacy with any statue or memorial that some group finds questionable and that brings us to the 76-foot monument of Columbus which was given to New York by Italian-Americans in 1892.
While he is known as the discoverer of the New World we have learned over the years that he used rather inhumane treatment and drove many indigenous people into slavery. However to take the statue down is ludicrous. Is the next step to remove Columbus Day from the calendar?
Of course politicians as they often do take up causes that they think will bode well with their constituents so with emotions running high many are leading the charge to remove what they find objectionable. What there should be is level-headed debate on what stays and what goes but don’t expect that anytime soon from our so-called leaders.